Netherlands cannot afford a second "no"

30th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

30 May 2007, THE HAGUE – The Netherlands cannot afford to torpedo another European treaty. The Netherlands' position in the EU, even its membership, will then hang in the balance, the Volkskrant reports.

30 May 2007

THE HAGUE – The Netherlands cannot afford to torpedo another European treaty. The Netherlands' position in the EU, even its membership, will then hang in the balance, the Volkskrant reports.

Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen (Christian Democrat CDA) and State secretary for European Affairs Frans Timmermans (Labour PvdA) both issued this warning on Tuesday, almost two years after the Dutch rejected the draft European constitutional treaty in a referendum.

Timmermans said that a second "no" will raise the question of whether the Netherlands wants to continue with Europe or not. He realises this can be construed as blackmail, "but a second round is the last round."

Minister Verhagen, confronted with the statements from the state secretary, said: "He is right. If we say no once again, the consequence will be that the rest of Europe will move on and we will be left behind. The caravan moves on."

The opposition parties have dismissed the foreboding comments from Timmermans and Verhagen. The coalition parties say that these kinds of comments are "premature." In the run up to the referendum in 2005 the cabinet also predicted that a rejection of the treaty would not bode well for the Netherlands.

The EU government leaders hope to reach a general accord on a new treaty next month. After that the cabinet will decide whether or not a referendum will be held.

The cabinet is currently talking to a number of other EU countries about a new treaty. The cabinet is insisting that it not be dubbed a constitution this time around. The fact that 18 of the 27 EU countries have already ratified the constitution puts the Netherlands in an awkward position.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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