Mixed reactions to Brussels deal

Dutch reactions to the new European treaty range from ‘good for the Netherlands’ to a ‘betrayal of Dutch interests’ but there is no parliamentary majority for a new referendum, ANP reports on Monday.

Labour party (PvdA) leader and deputy prime minister Wouter Bos said he would defend the treaty to the hilt, while André Rouvoet, who is the Christian Unie leader and the other deputy prime minister, said the European constitution had been swept from the table. Both parties are in the coalition government.
But Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration party PVV, said the treaty was ‘selling the Netherlands down the river’. The opposition PVV, Socialists, GroenLinks and D66 have all called for a referendum on the treaty.
European affairs minister Frans Timmermans (PvdA) said he was not afraid of a referendum but pointed out that the coalition agreement had ruled out a referendum pending advice from the Council of State. The Dutch voted no to the EU constitution in 1995.
Many of the Netherlands’ conditions were met in the revised treaty, including giving more power to national governments and scrapping references to the EU flag and anthem.
EU leaders agreed to the treaty in the early hours of Saturday morning after tough negotiations.

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