10 May 2004
BRUSSELS – Most Dutch people are either openly hostile to the new enlarged European Union or don’t know whether this month’s arrival of ten new EU countries is a good thing or not, a new European Commission survey has revealed.
The Eurobarometer survey found that 45 percent of the Dutch are against EU enlargement, just ahead of the 44 percent in favour. A further 11 percent don’t know what to think about it.
The Netherlands is by no means alone in its scepticism about the new bumper-sized Union.
In Germany 56 percent of the population were openly against admitting the new member sates into the EU club, while in Austria 52 percent of the population was opposed.
In France 47 percent of people polled said they opposed enlargement and a further 16 percent said they did not know if it was a good thing or not.
In Belgium, 49 percent came out against the expansion and 13 percent said they did not know if it was good or bad. Belgian Professor Hendrik Vos, from Gent university, told Flemish newspaper De Morgen showed that the country’s political leaders have failed to explain the benefits of enlargement to the Belgian people.
At the other end of the spectrum Spain, which joined the European club in 1986, has emerged as one of the strongest supporters of the latest EU expansion.
An impressive 59 percent of Spanish voters, said they were in favour of enlargement.
The ten new countries that joined the EU on 1 May are Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Dutch news