Dutch poll could kill off EU Constitution

30th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

30 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — European Union member states fear the looming Dutch referendum this week could signal the death knell for the draft EU Constitution following the French 'non' vote on Sunday.

30 May 2005

AMSTERDAM — European Union member states fear the looming Dutch referendum this week could signal the death knell for the draft EU Constitution following the French 'non' vote on Sunday.

"It would be very bitter if two founders of the European Union vote 'no'," European Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen said in Dutch newspaper 'Het Parool'.

Various observers now think the Dutch poll is more important than the French referendum, Dutch commercial broadcaster 'RTL News' reported.

"A no vote from the Netherlands will almost certainly drive the last amount of hope that the treaty will survive into the ground," British newspaper 'The Times' analysed.

Commenting on the French vote, the Christian Dutch daily 'Trouw' headlined on Monday: "French 'no' a slap in the face to Chirac, European leaders".

The Netherlands' biggest selling daily, 'De Telegraaf', said the vote was "a missed opportunity", news agency 'AFP' reported.

The newspaper added in an editorial: "For the Dutch referendum, the French no effectively means the Dutch will vote on Wednesday on something that no longer exists".

"Let's hope that the voters will turn out despite the French no and judge the constitution on its merits and its importance for the Netherlands."

Centre-left newspaper 'De Volkskrant' said in its editorial: "With the French no, the context of the Dutch referendum changes as well".

"A domestic opinion on the EU Constitution remains equally important especially when we look at the debate about possible alternatives. Dutch voters still have a valid reason to go to the polls Wednesday," the paper argued.

The Dutch Cabinet is campaigning hard for a yes vote and coalition government leaders urged the public against being influenced by the French result.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende also renewed his appeal to Dutch voters to approve the EU constitution, despite his "disappointment" over the French rejection of the treaty.

Opponents to the constitution in the Netherlands have said the French result brought a Dutch no vote closer to victory. Socialist MP Harry van Bommel said the victory was not yet secure, but the French result was very motivating.

Polls have regularly predicted Dutch voters will reject the constitution, despite a recent narrowing of the margin between pro and anti voters.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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