Danish opposition to joining the euro has softened slightly but remains high at 68.5 percent, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday, reflecting widespread scepticism towards the European currency as the euro zone debt crisis has escalated.
Danes rejected the euro in a 2000 referendum, and the Social Democrat-led coalition government, which took office last October, has said it will not offer a vote on the issue during its four-year term.
The Danish crown is pegged to the single currency within a narrow band.
“The June poll showed a continued large 'No' lead, although the lead narrowed slightly relative to March this year and even more relative to the December 2011 record,” said Danske Bank, which commissions the poll, conducted by Statistics Denmark.
The June poll was only the fourth such survey since the poll was launched in 1999 to show more than half of Danes certain to vote against the euro, which “illustrates the current tailwind for the 'No' camp,” the bank said.
Danish assets including the crown are now seen as a safe haven for investors looking to shift money away from volatile euro zone assets.
Danske said that, in addition to concerns about the euro zone debt crisis, the 'No' camp's surge was probably also due to the Danish central bank having cut interest rates over the past year to an extent that the rate spread to the euro zone was now negative.
“Hence, the costs of not being part of the euro zone appear significantly less now than just three years ago, when the rate spread briefly touched 175 basis points,” Danske Bank said.
The quarterly poll showed opposition to adopting the euro fell from 69.7 percent in the previous poll in March, while support for the euro rose 29.0 percent from 27.9 percent.
In December, opposition to joining the euro hit a record high of about 70 percent and the 'No' camp's lead was a historically wide 44.6 percentage points, which in the new poll has narrowed to 39.5 percent, Danske Bank said.
The lead also narrowed from 41.8 percentage points in March.
The narrowing of the 'No' side's lead was something of a surprise given the political turmoil in Greece at the time the poll was conducted in the first two weeks of June, Danske said.
“That said, it is still a very substantial lead and there is no doubt that the European debt crisis grabbing the headlines since late last summer has made the Danes very sceptical about full EMU membership,” Danske Bank said.
Danes rejected the euro by a margin of 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent in the 2000 referendum. - Reuters