Majority in Denmark vote in favor of joining EU defense policy

A majority of voters in Denmark have backed the country's shift to join the European Union's common defense policy following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Danish authorities say that two thirds of voters, or 66.9 percent, were in favor of the policy shift in Wednesday's national referendum. Those against it accounted for 33.1 percent.

Denmark is the only EU member that is not part of the bloc's defense and security policy. The country decided not to join it in a 1992 referendum on the Maastricht Treaty.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called for a review of the country's defense opt-out in March after the invasion in Ukraine.

At a news conference after the referendum, Frederiksen said that the result was a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

She said that Denmark can now participate in the European cooperation on defense and security, adding that the country cannot be neutral any more.

European Council President Charles Michel said in a social media post, "This decision will benefit Europe and make both the EU and the Danish people safer and stronger."

Denmark's decision comes after its fellow Nordic countries, Sweden and Finland, applied for membership of the NATO military alliance following the invasion.