French 'non' won't halt Dutch referendum
15 April 2005AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands will vote on the European constitution on 1 June, even if the French public vote against it three days earlier, European Affairs Minister Atzo Nicolaï indicated on Friday.
15 April 2005
AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands will vote on the European constitution on 1 June, even if the French public vote against it three days earlier, European Affairs Minister Atzo Nicolaï indicated on Friday.
There is growing worry among the EU's top officials that the French will reject the constitution at the polls on 29 May. This has given rise to rumours that the Cabinet in The Hague would want to scrap its referendum, planned for 1 June, if the French vote no.
Responding to a question from the Dutch Socialist Party, Nicolaï sent parliament a letter on Friday in which he said the referendum in the Netherlands will go ahead regardless of the outcome in France.
As the dates for the respective referendums draw closer, the enthusiasm for the constitution in France does not appear to be overwhelming.
The EU could be plunged into a crisis should both France and the Netherlands reject the constitution. The Dutch referendum is non-binding, but the Dutch Cabinet has indicated it will respect the public's decision.
"There is no question of the referendum being cancelled," Nicolaï wrote in the letter. He said the rumours were a result of a "misunderstanding", sparked by the Referendum Commission's decision to investigate whether it would be possible to stop the Dutch poll in the event of other countries rejecting the constitution.
All 25 member states of the EU must support the adoption of the constitution. Apart from France and the Netherlands, at least seven other countries are holding referendums on the issue.
A sizable majority of the Spanish public voted in favour of the constitution in a referendum in February.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news, EU constitution