Lower House drums up support for European treaty
The Lower House is launching a fresh campaign to drum up support for the new European treaty.4 June 2008
THE NETHERLANDS - The Lower House is launching a fresh campaign to drum up support for the new European treaty, expected to come into force on 1 January, 2009. The House will vote on the treaty this week, but without the benefit of a referendum, such as the one being held in Ireland. On Tuesday, MPs voted against a referendum.
Only the Socialist Party has taken the time to consider what the population might think: they accepted a petition signed by 40,000 Dutch citizens.
The other parties intend to debate the issue later in June in Groningen, Eindhoven, Apeldoorn and The Hague, but no more than 150 people are expected to attend at each location.
As the treaty is being debated in the Lower House, differences in opinion are already apparent.
The Christian Democrats and the Labour Party do not want Brussels to approve any measures that affect passports, identity cards or the freedom of movement of individuals.
They also want the Dutch parliament to authorise any cooperation between national police forces and to retain control of any police actions on foreign territory.
This does not go far enough for the conservative VVD. It wants ministers to get permission from the Lower House before making decisions about foreign operations, security policies and criminal law. The Christian Democrats and the Labour Party do not think this is necessary.
The VVD also wants to bring in a restriction that would permit Brussels to sign in new bills only if it has permission from both Dutch houses of parliament.
The VVD’s suggestion is being opposed by the Christian Democrats and the Labour Party. Their coalition partner, the Christian Union, has yet to cast its vote.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]