Wednesday

27th Mar 2019

High turnout for Dutch vote

Shortly before polls closing at 21.00, a turnout of 62% percent has been reported for the Dutch vote on the EU Constitution.

The turnout poll was conducted by Interview/NSS at 21.00

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

The figure lies ten percent higher than during the European Parliament elections in June 2004, when 39 percent of the voters made their way to the ballots.

The Dutch referendum is not legally binding, but the Dutch parliament has said it will heed the results if the turnout is over 30 per cent - a threshold which has now already been reached.

The polling stations will stay open until 21.00 CET with preliminary results expected shortly afterwards.

Prime minister Jan-Peter Balkenende is then expected to make a statement on the vote.

Once he has had his say, the leaders of the three principle EU institutions – Jose Manuel Barroso of the Commission, Josep Borrell of the parliament and Jean-Claude Juncker representing the council will also make a statement.

Their reactions will be keenly watched after what is expected to be second No vote in a founding member state following France’s rejection three days ago.

The final official results are not expected to be announced until Monday afternoon, as in certain areas in the country voting is done by ballot box rather than electronically.

Some 12.16 million Dutch are eligible to vote with a further 600,000 more voters set to join in from overseas.

Voters are being asked "Are you for or against the Netherlands giving its consent to the Treaty to establish a Constitution for Europe?

Ahead of the poll, the country's referendum commission sent out a short version of the constitution in April and May to all Dutch households, while the government sent out a constitution flyer on 21 May.

The full version of the document, which has 448 articles and is over 400 pages long, has been available for free in libraries and at local government outlets.

Criticism

However, Mr Balkenende's government has been strongly criticised for how it carried out the referendum campaign, leading to newspaper reports that it had pushed some voters to the no camp.

And polls on the eve of the referendum continued to put the no side well in the lead.

An Interview/NSS poll predicted that 60 per cent of voters would reject the treaty, while election researcher Maurice de Hond put the no at 59 per cent.

Senior Dutch politicians have also been pessimistic about the results, with foreign minister Bernard Bot telling CNN on Tuesday "it looks as if it is going to be a no".

The Dutch no camp, which was buoyed by the resounding French rejection of the treaty on Sunday, stretches across the political spectrum from left to right, as was the case in France.

Highest amount per capita

The bad feeling directed towards the EU concerns the rise of prices when the euro was introduced; a fear of further enlargement and anger that Dutch citizens pay the highest amount per capita into EU coffers.

The Dutch also worry that the country's traditional tolerance towards issues such as cannabis and euthanasia may be undermined by the EU.

If they turn the constitution down, it is likely to mean the document's definitive demise and it will send further shockwaves through an EU still reeling from France's rejection.

EU lawmakers pass contentious copyright law

The European Parliament backed a law on copyrighted content online. Defenders says it will safeguard right holders from being exploited by big tech firms. Critics say it spells the end of internet freedoms and curtails expression.

Opinion

Europe before the elections - heading back to the past?

Ahead of the European Parliament election in May, the bloc is ideologically split between authoritarians seeking to reduce its sway, and those seeking a moderate track. In essence, voters have to decide if they want to move forwards or backwards.

Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem

Romania will move its embassy to Jerusalem, its prime minister has said, shattering the EU line on the Arab-Israeli conflict while the country holds the EU rotating presidency.

Magazine

The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted

It is a divisive 'Brussels bubble' debate: whether to give the European Parliament more of a say on who becomes the next European Commission president. But the issue goes right to the heart of European integration.

Opinion

Russia and money laundering in Europe

After Danske Bank, both the US and the EU need to abandon the principle in bank regulation that it is all right to be a crook as long as you are big.

News in Brief

  1. EU tables plan for joint approach to 5G security
  2. MEPs agree to scrap summer time clock changes by 2021
  3. European Parliament votes on reform of copyright
  4. New French-German parliament meets for first time
  5. EU parliament reduces polling ahead of elections
  6. UK parliament votes to take control of Brexit process
  7. EU publishes no-deal Brexit contingency plans
  8. EU urges Israel and Gaza to re-establish calm

Magazine

The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted

It is a divisive 'Brussels bubble' debate: whether to give the European Parliament more of a say on who becomes the next European Commission president. But the issue goes right to the heart of European integration.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. EU lawmakers pass contentious copyright law
  2. France takes Chinese billions despite EU concerns
  3. Europe before the elections - heading back to the past?
  4. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  5. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  6. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  7. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  8. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us