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54 pct of Danes for referendum on EU reform treaty

(COPENHAGEN) - Fifty-four percent of Danes want a referendum on a EU reform treaty but only 35 percent will definitely give it their thumbs up if a vote is held, according to a new poll published Thursday.

Twenty-six percent were against a vote on the issue while 20 percent were undecided, according to a poll conducted by the Gallup institute on October 9 and 10 and covering 964 people.

The survey was published in the Berlingske Tidende newspaper on Thursday.

If a referendum is held, 35 percent said they would vote in favour of the reform treaty. Twenty-three percent said they would vote against it while 42 percent said they were undecided.

The 27-nation European Union is battling to agree a replacement to the constitution, more than two years after it was rejected in referendums by French and Dutch voters, with Britain and Poland seen as the main holdouts.

The treaty is seen as vital to streamline the workings of a bloc which has expanded from 15 to 27 member states since 2004.

EU leaders want the treaty to come into force on January 1, 2009 so that public confidence in the European project is not undermined during elections to the European Parliament that year.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who held talks with his British counterpart Gordon Brown on the treaty and other issues, said Copenhagen has so far not taken any decision on the reform treaty.

Rasmussen has said the Danish government would present its ratification project to parliament at the beginning of next year.

During this time, Danish legal experts would evaluate the document to see whether or not it involved the transfer of sovereignty to the EU.

If they found that it did, Copenhagen would call a referendum on the new treaty as required by the Danish constitution.

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