Referendum on the EU Constitution confirmed: SP to throw its weight behind ‘No’ campaign

25 January 2005

Referendum on the EU Constitution confirmed: SP to throw its weight behind ‘No’ campaign

A consultative referendum over the introduction of a European constitution will definitely be held in the Netherlands, following a vote in the Senate which saw the SP, Green Left, Labour Party and liberals of centre-left (D66) and right (VVD) back the proposal. However, in contrast to all of these Establishment parties, the SP is planning to conduct an intensive campaign for a ‘No’ to this constitution.

Jan Marijnissen Jan Marijnissen, who will lead the no campaign on behalf of the SP, said: “We are for the closest European co-operation on all issues which have an international element, from environmental protection to the fight against terrorism. But we see no need for a European superstate or a European constitution which will oblige us to expose more of our health care and educational provision to the market, which puts the interests of the market above those of the environment, which forces member states to invest ever more in defence and to adopt a common foreign policy aimed at legitimising an expensive European army, and which does nothing whatsoever to democratise the EU.”

“The EU has become a bureaucratic, undemocratic, and costly monster, and this constitution would do nothing to change that. In fact, I’d go further than that, because the ten thousand or so rules emanating from Brussels would be set in concrete and therefore that much harder to combat, while ever more decisions would be taken there. Politics would be removed even further from the citizen than is currently the case. If you want a Europe which belongs to its citizens, you should vote against this constitution.”

The SP will do all in its power to persuade a majority of the Dutch people that the best thing to do with this constitution is to throw it out. The precise date of the referendum is not yet known, but it will probably be held in May or June. The run-up to the vote will see a real David-and-Goliath battle, with the EU institutions, the government, the Christian Democrats, the Labour Party, the Liberal VVD and “left”-liberal D66, and Green Left all ranged on the “yes” side, while the opposition will count the SP, the “Comité Grondwet Nee” (Committee for a No to the Constitution) and newly independent former VVD dissident MP Geert Wilders.

Yet just as David defeated Goliath, the underdog will overcome the odds to win, forecasts Mr Marijnissen. “The Dutch people are tremendously sceptical about this Europe, and quite rightly so,” he said. “The Europe being cooked up in Brussels is not one which the people have ever chosen. This referendum gives us a fine opportunity to call a halt to a project, beloved only of the Europhile elite, which has already come off the rails.”

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