The British government is launching a campaign to get thousands of British nationals in the Netherlands to register to take part in the forthcoming referendum on Europe.
The campaign will kick off on February 4 and aims to raise awareness among British nationals that they can take part in the vote which will help decide if Britain remains in the European Union.
The British embassy in The Hague estimates there are 45,000 British nationals in the Netherlands. Everyone who was registered to vote in the UK no longer than 15 years ago can sign up.
However, thousands of British nationals who have lived in the Netherlands for longer than 15 years will not be able to take part under current British voting laws, despite earlier pledges this would be possible.
The British government is committed to changing the voting franchise to ‘votes for life’ but it is a separate political procedure and it is not clear if that will happen before the referendum, Nick Heath, deputy head of mission at the British embassy in The Hague, told DutchNews.nl.
Students studying at Dutch universities and who may be first-time voters are a particular target and the embassy is also writing to British organisations and companies with a large British workforce to alert them to the campaign.
Dutch economists Rick van der Ploeg and Willem Vermeend warned in a column on DutchNews.nl last year that Britain is one of the Netherlands’ most important trading partners and investors.
A Brexit, they said, would result in an economic downturn and the loss of many thousands of jobs.
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