Dutch to vote on EU Constitution in June
22 February 2005 , AMSTERDAM — The Dutch public will vote on the European Union Constitution on 1 June, should Minister for Government Reform Thom de Graaf approve of the date as expected.
22 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch public will vote on the European Union Constitution on 1 June, should Minister for Government Reform Thom de Graaf approve of the date as expected.
Proposed by an independent commission, the Cabinet will officially confirm the date of the referendum on 23 February.
It is believed that the government wants the referendum to be held before a European Union budgetary summit in mid-June, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
On a per capita basis, the Netherlands donates more money to the EU budget than any other member state. The Dutch government is thus concerned about a negative impact on the referendum if the budget ratio remains the same or worsens.
The Dutch government is in favour of the introduction of the new EU constitution and will urge the public to vote yes "with conviction".
The first referendum on the constitution was held in Spain over the weekend, when 76.7 percent of voters gave their approval to the constitution. The Dutch Cabinet has applauded the result.
The Dutch Senate approved in January the proposal to hold a referendum, the first of its kind in Dutch history. Despite the fact the plebiscite is non-binding, the Dutch Parliament has vowed to listen to the wishes of the public.
The Constitutional Treaty for the European Union was signed in Rome in October 2004 and sets out the powers and responsibilities of the various European institutions. It will replace all existing European treaties.
Residents of at least nine other EU member states will also vote on the constitution, which will not come into force until all 25 member states have ratified it.
In the run-up to the Dutch referendum, the government’s campaign will rely mainly on free publicity, such as newspaper articles and participation in debates and discussion programmes.
It will only opt for paid television advertisements if the constitution’s opponents conduct a large-scale campaign, the website government.nl said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news