MPs criticise cabinet’s EU campaign

The Dutch cabinet is launching a public information campaign today to coincide with the signing of the new European Union Treaty, reports Thursday’s Volkskrant.

The treaty text plus a ‘people friendly’ explanation as to why it is a positive development for the Netherlands will be made available and the cabinet will embark on a road show to drive its message home, the paper says.
While the cabinet stresses that the campaign is ‘not a propaganda show’ it has attracted considerable criticism from coalition parties and the opposition, says the Volkskrant.
Henk Jan Ormel, MP for the ruling Christian Democrat party, is sceptical about the cabinet’s plans. ‘Road shows attract those who already believe, while we should be trying to reach the non-believers,’ he told the Volkskrant.
Opposition Socialist MP Harry van Tommel dismissed the campaign as a public relations stunt, telling the paper: ‘All it [the cabinet] has done is hire in an advertising agency to sell the treaty.’
Alexander Pechtold, leader of the opposition centre-left D66, said that if the cabinet really wanted a debate on Europe it should have held a referendum on the new treaty.
And the liberal VVD opposition MP Han ten Broeke called the strategy ‘a blunder’.
The cabinet says the aim is to make Europe a normal topic of discussion rather than something people are for or against, reports the Volkskrant.

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