Saturday

25th May 2019

Dutch say strong No to EU Constitution

(Updated at 23.55 CET) The Netherlands has rejected the EU constitution, with 61.6 percent of the Dutch voting against the text and 38.4 in favour, official results show.

Reacting to the result, Dutch prime minister Jan-Peter Balkenende said his government "respected this outcome completely" although he was "very disappointed" with the result.

\"A No means No\"

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"A No is a No and that means a No to the Constitutional Treaty", said the prime minister.

But he urged other countries to continue their ratification process amid speculation that countries such as the UK, Denmark and Ireland may call off their proposed referendums.

"We ought to know how each country thinks about the constitutional treaty", he said.

He went on to say that voters had mainly been concerned about a "loss of sovereignty", "Dutch identity" and the high Dutch financial contributions to the EU.

"We will have to explain to the other member states what the Dutch people's motives were", said Mr Balkenende.

Meanwhile, in a joint statement, the leaders of the European Commission and parliament and council said they "respect" the Dutch vote adding that EU leaders would use the occasion of their next meeting on 16-17 June to engage in a "collective analysis" of the situation.

High turnout

Turnout lay at 62.8 percent, far above the 30 percent threshold necessary for the referendum to be valid.

Polls closed today at 21.00.

The percentage of Dutch "No" votes lies even higher than polls had predicted yesterday (around 60 percent).

The Dutch referendum is non-binding, meaning that the Dutch parliament has the final say on ratification of the EU Charter.

But the parliament, which initiated the referendum, has repeatedly said it would adopt the result of the poll if turnout were higher than 30 percent.

The Dutch want less \"Brussels\"

Two pollsters yesterday (31 May) already released analyses of the reasons of the Dutch "No".

They both found that the rejection of the EU constitution was primarily based on general uneasiness with the EU.

A TNS/NIPO survey for RTL television found that "the Dutch are predominantly afraid that the Netherlands will lose its identity in Europe and that the Netherlands will not maintain its influence in the European Union."

The polling company went on to state that the Dutch think that "European unification goes too quickly".

TNS/NIPO noted that "remarkably", sideline issues like Turkish EU accession, the Euro, and discontent with the Dutch government - finally did not constitute the main arguments for voters turning their backs on the Constitution.

Election researcher Maurice de Hond found that 78 percent of the Dutch think that "Brussels should have less of a say on issues close to citizens."

Seventy-three percent of respondents said that the EU should be "much more democratic".

Strikingly, according to Mr de Hond's poll, less than half backed the idea of a common EU foreign policy.

Forty-five percent of respondents agreed that "there should be one approach to foreign policy in the EU, not seperate approaches of every single country."

Meanwhile, 30 percent of the Dutch still want the Dutch guilder back, according to Mr De Hond.

Analysis

Sibiu: EU leaders prepare post-Brexit show of unity

With the European elections just three weeks away, the EU-27 will try to set the agenda for the next years for the EU institutions. But with persisting divisions on key issues, unity will be an achievement in itself.

Exclusive

Ombudsman backs EUobserver on MEP expenses

The European Parliament should have granted access to documents on a decision about how transparent MEPs should be in future with their office expenses, says EU Ombudsman.

EU want Facebook pan-EU advert fix for May elections

EU institutions want Facebook to relax its rules, to allow pan-European political groups to carry out EU-wide campaigns. Facebook has yet to implement the demands - posing questions on the extent to which Europe relies on the US tech firm.

News in Brief

  1. UK's May announces June 7 resignation date
  2. Ireland votes for EU election and divorce referendum
  3. Report: May to announce resignation plan on Friday
  4. Leading politicians: time for EU to have female leaders
  5. Poll: Finland's Green party to surge in EU elections
  6. High demand for postal voting in Denmark
  7. Some EU citizens turned away at UK polling stations
  8. Switzerland unlikely to sign draft EU deal

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Latest News

  1. Irish greens take Dublin in second EU exit poll
  2. EU election results to trigger top jobs scramble This WEEK
  3. Don't tell the Dutch - but Timmermans 'won'
  4. EU says goodbye to May with 'respect'
  5. Strache scandal: how big a hit will Austrian far-right take?
  6. Italy train row exposes competing views of EU
  7. Dutch socialists on top in first EP election exit poll
  8. No usage data kept for EU parliament's 'Citizens' App'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us