Sad that supporters of the EU Constitution refuse to discuss the issue

30 September 2005

Sad that supporters of the EU Constitution refuse to discuss the issue

Harry van Bommel is disappointed that leading supporters of the EU Constitution have allowed the national discussion on Europe to go quietly to its grave. The government, the centre-right VVD and CDA and the centre-left PvdA no longer see any advantage in the proposal to let the people speak out on the existing European Union and the future of the Netherlands in Europe. Mr Van Bommel takes a positive view of such a debate, however, one in which everyone in the country could participate and which would not be limited as to content. "In the end politicians will be forced to listen to what is being said in the general population, but the major parties have clearly more fear of this than interest in it.”

Van Bommel does not share the fears of former supporters of the European Constitution, nor is he afraid that the government even now wants to force the Constitution through. “It's time that people were given the chance to speak,” he says. “Parliament and Cabinet were by a large majority in favour of the Constitution and the people on June 1st made it crystal clear that as far as Europe goes they do not feel that the parties which formed these majorities represent them. It was therefore nothing more than a logical step to ask people what they would like to see happen next, but the losers of the referendum don't seem to get this at all.”

Harry van Bommel discussing European issues in the Dapper market in Amsterdam

In the government-commissioned report 'Come to the campsite!' the advice was given to “Get out amongst the people. Go to the campsite, the bus-stop, people's homes. Politics must go out to the people, not the other way round. Get away from the Binnenhof (the National Parliament building), and go looking for people.” As Van Bommel points out “This is what we have been doing for years, which means that the SP does not have this problem. We had hoped, however, that parties such as the VVD, CDA en PvdA would also now begin to do this. They have let the chance to bridge this gap slip. This will of course not prevent the SP from continuing to get out amongst the people.”

You are here