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Opting out

Certain EU Member States have what are known as opt-outs, which are a means of ensuring that when a given Member State does not want to take part in a particular field of EU policy, it can opt out, thus avoiding an overall stalemate.

Examples of opt-outs include:

  • Schengen Agreement: Ireland;
  • economic and monetary union: Denmark;
  • defence: Denmark;
  • EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: Poland;
  • area of freedom, security and justice: Denmark and Ireland (the latter may opt into given initiatives if it wishes).