EUOBSERVER / COPENHAGEN - The Danish parliament has voted against having a referendum on the new EU treaty, making it likely that Ireland will be the only EU member state to put the document to a public poll.
The parliament's vote on Tuesday (11 December) came shortly after prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said his centre-right government would not support a referendum.
"The government proposes a ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by a decision in the Folketing [parliament] and not by a referendum," said Mr Fogh Rassmussen at his weekly press conference.
The decision was largely based on a report published by the Danish ministry of Justice earlier this month which concluded that the treaty does not transfer further sovereignty to the EU.
"There is no transfer of sovereignty, and therefore there is no reason to hold a referendum," said the prime minister.
Denmark's constitution requires a referendum if the country is seen as losing sovereignty.
But the ministry of justice has been accused of bias in some quarters.
Professor of European and International Public Law at Copenhagen University, Dr Hjalte Rasmussen, is one of the critics.
"The Danish government asked itself to advise itself. In the report, there is no regard for the power of the [European] Court of Justice to alter the Treaty text. In this way, the Court can transfer sovereignty to the EU. There are tonnes of examples of this practice," Dr Rasmussen said to EUobserver.
Dr Rasmussen suggests asking experts from Danish universities to look at the relation between the EU's Lisbon Treaty and the Danish Constitution.
MPs who voted against having a referendum refute accusations of bias in the ministry's report.
They also say that it was not purely legal arguments that persuaded them that Danish citizens need not vote on the EU document.
The Danish decision comes just two days before the EU is to formally sign off the treaty in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.
EU leaders are aiming to get the document ratified throughout the bloc next year for it to come into place in 2009.