Opposition MPs draw up referendum bill

The opposition GroenLinks, Socialist and D66 parties are drawing up a private member’s bill which would force a referendum on the new European treaty, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

Labour MPs are said to be divided on the issue. If they support it, the bill will have a parliamentary majority.
Sources around the cabinet say ministers are set to rule out a second referendum on Europe following neutral advice from the Council of State, its highest advisory body. The Netherlands overwhelmingly rejected the proposed EU constitution in 2005.
Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende yesterday defended the new treaty, saying it reduced European Union powers and gave national parliaments more say over decision-making.
The cabinet is due to take its final decision today.

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