Press-statement on the Dutch NO against the European constitution

7 June 2005

Press-statement on the Dutch NO against the European constitution

The overwhelming Dutch NO against the European constitution is a serious ‘wake-up call’ for The Hague, Brussels and as it now seems, London. It’s a wake-up call for Europe: time to stop dreaming, time to get real. Years of ignoring the discontent of the people on the pace of European integration has led to derailment and stagnation of that process. The only way out is to listen to the worries of the people and act accordingly.

By Kartika Liotard, member of the European Parliament for the Dutch SP

A resolution put forward by the SP in the Netherlands and supported by Dutch parliament, calls for an immediate and broad civil debate on the question of what we want with further corporation in Europe, what the goals and means of the EU should be. Before that is cleared-up, there’s no room for further forced integration. We may be engaged, but we’re not married yet.

The Dutch NO was nót a NO against Europe or European co-operation. On the contrary, stalling the constitutional process and slowing down the integration, the pace of the process and the direction it was going, is the only way to guarantee a stable future for Europe. The NO was a NO against the further development of an arrogant neo-liberal super-state that would inevitably lead to disintegration of the Union.

After the French and Dutch NO, there’s no way back. The only way is forward, but this time with the people.
The Netherlands will not accept a new referendum on the same proposal. That would be in total disrespect of the loud outcry of the people, voting with 62 percent against the constitution.

Focussing on just negotiating some minor benefits or special protocols for our country, as our minister of finance will try later on – bargaining down the Dutch payments to the EU - would also completely ignore the reasons behind the massive NO-vote. The message is: it’s too much, too soon and too fast. The way forward for Europe is to take it easy.

Life starts at fifty. That goes for the Union as well. But that doesn’t mean you have to start bungee-jumping all of a sudden.
It’s like with good French wine and good Dutch cheese: it takes time to age, and that’s something you just can’t rush. Try it, and you’ll end up with all fungus and mold and no quality or taste.

The day after the referendum, the Dutch government withdrew it’s proposal to ratify the treaty. There was no need for parliament to vote on it, because the negative outcome was all too obvious. The UK will not have a referendum, the Czech referendum will be postponed and the Portuguese referendum is pending on the outcome of the Council-meeting next week. Maybe it’s time for the European Council to withdraw it’s proposal for a European constitution as well, because after the Dutch and French NO, there’s nó way thís proposal will ever become the European constitution. If you take the other member states and it’s people seriously, you can’t just let them vote on a proposal that doesn’t exist anymore.

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