Danish foreign policy is founded upon four cornerstones: the United Nations, NATO, the EU, and Nordic cooperation. Denmark also is a member of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; the World Trade Organization (WTO); the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); the Council of Europe; the Nordic Council; the Baltic Council; and the Barents Council. Denmark emphasizes its relations with developing nations and is one of the few countries to exceed the UN goal of contributing 1% of GNP to development assistance.
In the wake of the Cold War, Denmark has been active in international efforts to integrate the countries of Central and Eastern Europe into the West. It has played a leadership role in coordinating Western assistance to the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). The country is a strong supporter of international peacekeeping. Danish forces were heavily engaged in the former Yugoslavia in the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR), with IFOR, and now SFOR.
Denmark has been a member of NATO since its founding in 1949, and membership in NATO remains highly popular. There were several serious confrontations between the U.S. and Denmark on security policy in the so-called "footnote era" (1982-88), when a hostile parliamentary majority forced the government to adopt specific national positions on nuclear and arms control issues. With the end of the Cold War, however, Denmark has been supportive of U.S. policy objectives in the Alliance. Denmark is not a member of the Western European Union but does hold observer status.
Danes have enjoyed a reputation as "reluctant" Europeans. When they rejected ratification of the Maastricht Treaty on June 2, 1992, they put the EC's plans for the European Union on hold. In December 1992, the rest of the EC agreed to exempt Denmark from certain aspects of the European Union, including a common defense, a common currency, EU citizenship, and certain aspects of legal cooperation. The Amsterdam Treaty was approved in the referendum of May 28, 1998, but the persistent skepticism of the EU in Denmark may no longer be a purely Danish phenomenon, as other member nations seem to have lowered their ambitions for ever greater political integration. In the autumn of 2000, Danish citizens rejected membership of the Euro currency group in a referendum.