Supporters of a referendum on the EU’s free trade deals with the US and Canada have collected two-thirds of the signatures necessary to force a vote.
Some 200,000 people have now signed a petition calling for a public vote, which is backed by environmental group Milieudefensie and food lobby group Foodwatch among others.
Under Dutch law, 300,000 signatures are sufficient to trigger an advisory referendum. In April, the Netherlands held a referendum on the EU’s treaty with Ukraine, which the no vote won.
The petition states: ‘these treaties are a threat to democracy, give too much power to big companies and have major consequences for national labour, social, environmental, privacy and consumer standards.’
‘TTIP and Ceta are old-school trade agreements where the interests of companies are more important than the people who live in those countries,’ Niesco Dubbelboer, one of the leaders behind the referendum initiative,’ told Reuters.
Prime minister Mark Rutte is still trying to deal with the fall out of the no vote to Ukraine. The Netherlands also voted no to the EU constitution in 2005.