New EU Treaty: Seeing is Believing

20 June 2007

New EU Treaty: Seeing is Believing

'It's pleasing to hear the government now enthousiastically stating that we have seen the back of the European Constitution, the road to a European superstate is closed and significantly more power will have to be given to national parliaments in relation to the European legislative process. It must be said that we had heard otherwise. But for us as the SP the watchword remains, "seeing is believing".' So said SP Senator Tiny Kox during Tuesday's debate on the imminent European Council summit in Brussels, where a possible new EU treaty to replace the Constitution rejected by the electorate in the Netherlands and France two years ago will be on the table.

Tiny Kox Kox, who leads the SP's group in the Senate, said that he was pleased with the amount of activity and effort performed by Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen and Secretary of State for European Affairs Frans Timmermans in ensuring that the 'No' of 2005 would resound around the coming summit. He wondered allowed whether the two members of the government still recognised themselves when they looked back at the attitudes they had adopted during the referendum campaign. "If you'd said then what you're saying now, you'd probably have joined us in the 'no' camp" he told them.

Senator Kox did, however, admit that though he was happy with the present efforts of the two, he was also concerned about what the government seemed prepared to sacrifice and the overall outcome of the summit negotiations in Brussels. ‘We don't know whether other countries are bothered about whether our national parliament is given more power. We do know, however, that you are prepared to give up the Netherlands' right of veto in certain policy areas, and we find that to be a bad thing. This right of veto is, especially for smaller countries, an important means of achieving better results. Dutch people are in favour of the European Union and in favour of European cooperation but against the handing over of still more sovereignty to Brussels. That was made clear by the referendum of 2005. The idea that cooperation can only occur if it is determined more by Brussels and less by us is one with which we do not agree, and with which the Dutch people disagree just as strongly as we do. And we still don't know what you will bring back from the list of things you now mention: no flag, no anthem, no European Foreign Minister, no European defence force. Not until after the weekend will be able to look into whether the flag can de discreetly removed, or that after all we must be ready to resist tooth-and-claw. As I said, seeing is believing.’

The SP Senator urged the government not to be afraid of a new referendum. Other parties, meanwhile, have been extremely reticent on the issue, though the governing Christian Democrats (CDA), the right-wing liberals of the opposition VVD and the smallest of the governing coalition parties, the Christian Union are opposed. The other governing party, the Labour Party (PvdA), which originally supported a referendum, is now reserving judgement.

You are here