Swedes and Czechs back Dutch on EU

The Swedish and Czech governments have added their support to the Dutch position on the future of the EU, backing calls for reforms to existing treaties rather than the introduction of an EU constitution, ANP reports.

The Netherlands wants a clear separation between national and European policy and argues that issues such as social security provision and public services be left up to national governments. The Dutch rejected the EU constitution in a referendum in 2005.
Speaking in The Hague after talks with prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Swedish prime minister Fredrik Rheinfeldt said the idea of an EU constitution made people think Europe was becoming a ‘super state’, ANP reported. ‘That was not correct, but it is what people believed,’ Rheinfeldt said.
Also on Monday, the Dutch minister for European affairs Frans Timmermans visited the Czech deputy premier for European affairs Alexandr Vondra.
‘At the long last, we have found a voice among EU founders that is very close to our ideas,’ Vondra was quoted as saying in the Czech media. ‘The Netherlands is one of the few countries to have tested the constitution in a referendum. The Dutch sent a warning signal that there were some boundaries that must not be crossed.’
Last week, British prime minister Tony Blair also voiced his support for the idea of a new ‘light’ European treaty to replace plans for a European Union constitution.

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