Massive ‘no’ to the European Constitution: Wake-up call for Brussels and The Hague

1 June 2005

Massive ‘no’ to the European Constitution: Wake-up call for Brussels and The Hague

The Netherlands' NO – three days after the French NO – has served as a loud wake-up call for politicians in Brussels and the Dutch capital, The Hague. The situation brought about by these results – for the time being, at least, a halt to any further European integration – should force politicians to look at how the gap between what they want and what the citizens want can be closed. That this is happening is to be welcomed. Long-standing contempt for the popular will was bound to lead sooner or later to derailment and stagnation. The SP is proposing a National Convention in which the party can discuss the future of the Netherlands in Europe with the country's citizens.

Big victory party for the SP in Amsterdam

European and global integration is a fact. But the character and tempo of that integration were what provoked the people to vote No.

"Politics should seize the advantage offered by this powerful signal and produce an alternative to this constitution: easy to understand, clear, free of a neoliberal agenda and respectful of the diversity and individuality of the member states. To achieve this, the debate which has now started must continue,” said SP leader Jan Marijnissen. The SP is calling for a National Convention in which citizens and social organisations can come together to discuss the future of the EU and the Netherlands' future in Europe.

Jan Marijnissen: "Now that the campaign is behind us, it's also time to look at the way the government conducted its campaign. Taking money from state funds and using it to make propaganda was fundamentally unjust. Publicly funded broadcasters also played a dubious role, systematically favouring the Yes campaign. They gave twice as much time to supporters of the constitution as to opponents, with the excuse that this reflected the balance of political attitudes. But public broadcasters have a responsibility to report what is being said in the whole society, and not simply to act as a soap box for the political elite. Their task above all is to give honestly balanced information." The SP is commissioning a research study into the space given to supporters and opponents in the run-up to the referendum.

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