Minister warns on second EU ‘no’

If the Dutch again vote no to a European constitution, the Netherlands may have to leave the EU, according to junior foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans during a press conference in The Hague on Tuesday evening.

Timmermans is quoted by the Volkskrant as saying: ‘If it’s again no, then the question is: do we continue as an EU member state?’ According to the paper his boss, foreign affairs minister Maxim Verhagen, agrees with him.
The opposition parties reject Timmermans’ threat, saying it is premature. They point out that two years ago the cabinet predicted problems if the European constitution was rejected. The Dutch voted no in a referendum in 2005.
The Netherlands is currently in discussions with a number of EU countries about how to move forward on the constitution issue. It wants to amend existing treaties, prefering to avoid the word ‘constitution’. Some MPs say that a watered-down document should also be put to the vote.

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