Coalition rejects call for second vote
24 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — Coalition Dutch government parties have rejected calls by opposition Labour PvdA leader Wouter Bos to hold a second referendum if the Dutch public rejects the EU Constitution next week.
24 May 2005
AMSTERDAM — Coalition Dutch government parties have rejected calls by opposition Labour PvdA leader Wouter Bos to hold a second referendum if the Dutch public rejects the EU Constitution next week.
The Christian Democrat CDA, Liberal VVD and Democrat D66 parties said on Tuesday the proposal was absurd and unacceptable.
"The Cabinet is concentrating on one referendum and that is the referendum next Wednesday," European Affairs State Secretary Atzo Nicolaï said.
Bos said in an interview with newspaper 'Algemeen Dagblad' that MPs should consider holding a second referendum next year if the Netherlands is the only country to vote against the constitution.
He said consultations would be necessary with the EU, but if the Netherlands is the only country opposed to the constitution, there is a chance other member states will not be prepared to negotiate.
And Bos said the Dutch government could not turn around and simply back the constitution without consulting the public again.
The opposition leader said in 18 months time all of the referendums on the EU constitution will have been held and it will only be clear at that time whether the Netherlands is standing alone.
Bos pointed to referendums in Denmark in 1992 — when voters rejected the Treaty of Maastricht — and in Ireland in 2001 when Irish voters rejected the Treaty of Nice. In referendums held at a later date, the electorates in both of those countries approved of the treaties.
But Bos said if France and Britain also reject the EU constitution, the Netherlands will not need to hold a second plebiscite and Europe will carry on as it does now without a constitution.
"It is not a disaster, but a missed chance. It will then be more difficult to arrest terrorists and the same nations will continue accepting asylum seekers," he said.
The Dutch government and the PvdA are waging a pro-constitution campaign but are battling opinion polls indicating a majority of the Dutch public is set to vote 'no' at the 1 June referendum.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said he is "extremely concerned" about the latest polls in the Netherlands.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news