21st Mar 2018

Dutch may cancel referendum if France votes no

  • The Netherlands will hold its referendum just three days after France (Photo: EUobserver)

The Netherlands is considering calling off its referendum on the EU constitution if the French poll on the treaty results in a "no", it has emerged.

According to Dutch press agency ANP, the cancelling of the referendum is one of the emergency scenarios currently under investigation by the Dutch cabinet in case the French reject the constitution.

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The news emerged at a press briefing by the Dutch Foreign Ministry on Tuesday (5 April).

The Dutch poll on the new EU treaty is to be held on 1 June, just three days after the French referendum on 29 May.

On Tuesday, three more French surveys put the "no" camp ahead of the supporters of the constitution. This brings the total number of polls predicting a French "no" to nine over the past two weeks.

MPs against cancelling the poll

Dutch parliamentarians denounced the emergency scenario.

Labour MP Niesco Dubbelboer said that it is not up to the Dutch government to discuss the issue, as the referendum had been an initiative by the Parliament, not the cabinet.

The left-liberal MP and former MEP Lousewies van der Laan stated that "it would be useful to get to know the opinion of the Dutch people" even if the French were to say "no" to the Constitution.

"The government could take that into account during new negotiations [on the treaty]"

Ms Van der Laan also expressed her concern about the small interest displayed by the Dutch public over the Constitution.

Compared to France, the debate on the new EU charter in the Netherlands has so far been very limited.

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