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Ireland - Denmark

19 June 2008

Ireland - Denmark

Paul Ulenbelt

Paul UlenbeltDuring the European football championships of 1992 I greeted the scoreline of 1-0 with a whoop of joy, just like many others. It was at a trade union conference in Denmark, and I was watching the Netherlands-Denmark match in the company of numerous Danes. In the end it was 2-2. Then Marco van Basten, of all people, missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out. We were out.

This year the Danes aren't playing, having failed to qualify. The same goes for the Irish. Nevertheless, the Danes were jumping for joy last week, and for the Irish. I saw it with my own eyes. The Silkeborg branch of the "Fagligt Faelles Forbund" was paying a visit to the SP parliamentary group. Thirty men and women from their local branch of the Danish trade union which can best be compared to our own militant trade unionists of "FNV Bondgenoten". The branch takes five days out every year for a study trip in Europe, and this time they had chosen to visit the Netherlands.

They wanted to know everything about the SP, our 'no' campaign against the European Constitution and our relations with the trade union movement. Just like our sister organisation in Ireland, they are extremely critical of the Lisbon Treaty. They had asked me to let them know as soon as I heard the result of the Irish referendum. When I was taking them on a tour of the Parliament building the news came through: NO! And this time we celebrated together.

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