Monday

29th Aug 2016

Dutch MPs vote in favour of Lisbon Treaty

The House of Commons in the Netherlands passed the Lisbon Treaty on Wednesday evening with a wide majority, some three years after the Dutch people rejected the constitutional treaty in a popular referendum.

With the governing Labour Party and Christian Democrats, together with the market-liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) voting in favour of the ratification of the treaty, the legislation passed easily.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Only the left-wing Socialist Party (SP), the Freedom Party of hard-right anti-Islam provocateur Geert Wilders and the Party for the Animals, an animal rights party with two seats in the chamber, voted against.

The Dutch Senate still has yet to approve the document, however. The upper house is expected to debate the treaty over the summer.

Three years ago, in June 2005, the European Union was dealt a body blow when the Netherlands voted heavily against the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe.

The win for the 'Nee', or 'No' side – a powerful 61.5 percent of voters on a turnout of 63.3 percent - together with a strong 'Non' from France the month before, effectively killed off the European Constitutional project.

This time around, European leaders have ensured that the new treaty has not been put before citizens in referenda, with the exception of Ireland, where one is constitutionally required. Instead, parliaments are simply ratifying it.

The two Dutch governing parties have said it was not necessary to consult the population a second time because what was now on the table was only a classic modification treaty, stripped of its constitutional trappings.

Additionally in the Lisbon Treaty, argued Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende, national parliaments are to play a greater role in the European legislative process, with the ability to put a halt to legislation they object to.

However, the SP, whose support has soared since it took the lead in the 2005 campaign against the constitution, steadily eating away at the centre-left Labour Party's support base, argued that there was little difference between the two treaties.

SP Europe spokesperson Harry van Bommel presented a 42,000-signature petition against the Lisbon Treaty to the parliament ahead of the vote, but to no avail, with the chamber rejecting his proposal for a second referendum.

During the debate, Mr van Bommel said: "It is a disgrace that there is still no public version of the Treaty of Lisbon available.

"Obviously one does not want to inform the population," he added.

After the vote, VVD house leader Han Ten Broeke rubbished the idea that the treaties were the same. "Even if less than five per cent has changed, … your DNA differs by only two per cent from that of a monkey, but the difference is still fundamental," he said, according to Radio Netherlands.

The Dutch Green Left party had mixed feelings about the treaty, which in the end they supported. Green MP Mariko Peters said: "It is an great moment because we stand to ratify a new treaty concerning Europe. At the same time is a sad moment because democracy failed."

All eyes are now on Ireland, which has its say on the treaty on 12 June.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey