Petition forces parliament to debate EU referendums
Wednesday 06 March 2013
A citizens' initiative is set to force parliament to debate holding a referendum on any amendments to EU treaties.
Some 40,000 people have signed a petition calling on the lower house of parliament to debate the need for a referendum.
Labour leader Diederik Samsom said earlier this week he would support a referendum if a new EU treaty was drawn up, once the worst of the crisis is over.
A special parliamentary committee must now assess whether the petition meets citizens’ initiative rules. For example, the subject must not have been debated in parliament within the past two years.
Last month parliament voted in favour of legislation to allow ‘advisory referendums’ on controversial topics, if supporters can gather 300,000 signatures. The results of the vote would not be binding on government.
However, supporters of a referendum on Dutch EU membership, such as Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam PVV, see the potential to force a popular vote on the issue.