European Affairs Secretary playing a dishonest game in discussion over future of EU

9 May 2006

European Affairs Secretary playing a dishonest game in discussion over future of EU

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel is incensed over the fact that Secretary of State for European Affairs Atzo Nicolaï is seeking a prolongation of at least a year of the official “period of reflection” over the future of the European Constitution. “Mr Nicolai is playing a dishonest game,” said Van Bommel. “He has previously said that the European Constitution is 'dead'. And a dead constitution has no future in the Netherlands or anywhere else.”

Following the French and Dutch “no” to the European Constitution in last year's referenda, European heads of government decided that there should be a period of reflection which should last a year. As the decision was taken last June, the year is almost up. The Dutch government took advantage of this opportunity to survey opinion on the EU amongst the country's people using the website www.nederlandineuropa.nl. “This poll was closed last month,” Van Bommel said. “The results from this survey will be published within a few weeks. Extra time for reflection is surely not needed at all.”

Instead of talking about the future of the European Constitution, member states should invest some time in bringing about much-needed EU reforms. “Reflecting still further about a dead constitution is nonsense. The European Union doesn't need extra time, it needs a bit of extra courage to cut through to the core of what's wrong.”

It seems that European government leaders want to put off the decision on the future of the European Constitution until after the elections which will take place next year in both the Netherlands and France, in the hope that new governments will approve the text. Van Bommel has asked Nicolai for an explanation of these developments. “The Netherlands must not go along with this," he said. “The European Constitution is the responsibility of the present cabinet, which organised the referendum, and it is up to them to confront Brussels.”

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