Sign of the times? Denmark appoints eurosceptic as new foreign minister

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Anders Samuelsen was yesterday picked as the Scandinavian country’s new foreign minister in a reshuffle of its coalition government.

Amid growing anti-EU feeling in Denmark, the 49-year-old has campaigned against closer ties with Brussels.

Last year, Mr Samuelsen led successful efforts to block greater EU cooperation on home and justice matters in a national referendum.

Speaking after his Liberal Alliance Party – who have also previously opposed greater Danish ties with the eurozone – became part of the coalition government, Mr Samuelsen said: “I have not changed my attitude overnight towards the EU.”

The former MEP added: “The government”s line is that we are at the core of the EU cooperation, but at the same time we have a critical attitude in the way the EU works.

“We want to reform the EU, United Nations and NATO from within. We have a task of cleansing to do.”

In a possible hint at Britain’s historic vote to quit the EU, Mr Samuelsen said: “We may be inspired by what happens in the rest of the world.”

Denmark, alongside the UK, has historically been one of Europe’s most eurosceptic nations and holds a series of opt-outs from EU policies on security, police and the euro.

The Liberal Alliance, co-founded by Mr Samuelsen, campaigned against cooperation with cross-border police agency Europol with a deal rejected by Danish voters in December 2015.

The two other government parties, the Liberals led by Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and the Conservative Party, are pro-EU and want to scrap opt-outs the Nordic country currently holds on EU matters.

Liberal Alliance holds 13 seats in the 179-member Danish parliament.

In the wake of the Brexit vote on June 23, Mr Rasmussen insisted it would not affect Denmark’s own EU membership.