Some 55% of the Dutch think there should be a referendum on the new EU treaty, with a similar percentage saying they would vote in favour, according to a Maurice de Hond opinion poll.
A referendum is now unlikely, following the decision by Labour (PvdA) MPs not to support opposition calls for a public vote.
However, the poll shows that six out of 10 people who vote for the PvdA believe the party should support a referendum. Almost half (47%) say the party’s decision not to back a vote is breaking election promises. Labour had said it would support a referendum during last year’s election campaign.
Almost 77% of those polled said they believed the cabinet was against a new referendum because ministers were afraid the Dutch would again vote ‘no’. In 2005, both the Dutch and the French rejected the EU constitution.
Labour MPs decided on Tuesday not to support opposition calls for a referendum on the EU treaty, arguing that a vote was not necessary because Dutch objections had been removed in this summer’s EU summit. Opposition MPs described the decision as ‘political suicide’ and said PvdA MPs were ‘a bunch of scaredy cats’.
‘This treaty is fundamentally different to the constitution rejected in 2005,’ Labour parliamentary leader Jacques Tichelaar told the Volkskrant on Wednesday. ‘There will not be a federal European superstate, national parliaments will be stronger and we keep control of our education and healthcare systems.’
Politicial sources at the Volkskrant suggest that the PvdA may have rejected the referendum in the hope that its Christian Democratic coalition partners will soften their approach to reforming redundancy law. The PvdA is totally opposed to plans by the CDA-led cabinet to make it easier to sack staff and to limit redundancy payouts.
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