The senate gave its backing to the new European treaty on Tuesday, ending the Dutch ratification process.
Senators voted by 60 to 15 in favour of the treaty, with the Socialists and a number of minor parties voting against. Today’s vote means the Netherlands is the 21st to approve the treaty, which was signed by 27 leaders last December.
‘The Netherlands has asked a great deal of flexibility from our partners over the past few years,’ the Volkskrant reports prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende as saying ahead of the senate vote. ‘It is right that the Netherlands goes through the [approval] procedure on time and says a resounding ‘yes’ to the treaty.’
Earlier Balkenende condemned opponents of the treaty for hinting that the cabinet has something to hide because it refused to hold a referendum. He described their comments as ‘shameful’. ‘Everyone who does not back a referendum is being labelled as undemocratic or compared with Robert Mugabe,’ Balkenende told senators on Monday night.
The government opposed a referendum, arguing there were no constitutional elements in the new treaty. The lower house (parliament) voted in favour on June 5.
Despite SP calls for more time, the ‘no’ in the recent Irish referendum is no reason to delay the Dutch vote, the prime minister said. The Dutch rejected the European constitution in a referendum in 2005.
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