Referendum on EU treaty amendment

2 November 2010

Referendum on EU treaty amendment

The SP is demanding a referendum on the EU treaty amendment which will be required to make possible a permanent emergency fund covering the eurozone countries. SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel put forward the demand today in a call to fellow MPs. "The European Union has in a very short space of time acquired a great deal more influence over our national economic policy," says Van Bommel. "When you add it to the already agreed system of sanctions for the eurozone countries, the treaty amendment will mean a massive transfer of powers. That should not be possible without the Dutch people being consulted."

Harry van BommelVan Bommel was the MP who put forward an 'initiative law' – similar to a Private Members' Bill in the British parliamentary system – calling for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The Labour Party (PvdA), however, despite having supported a referendum on the European Constitution, refused to support the proposal, despite the fact that the two treaties were virtually identical. The decisive factor was that at the time of the passage of the Lisbon Treaty, the PvdA had joined the governing coalition, This time, however, Van Bommel is confident of more success. "The PVV said today that they are considering supporting a referendum. Now the PvdA is out of government, and if the PVV is going support it, we'd have a majority. That would be a victory for democracy."

The European heads of government want a treaty amendment to enable them to transform the temporary emergency fund for eurozone countries which find themselves in financial difficulties into a European Monetary Fund. The SP sees no solution to the problem of preventing a Greek-style situation from arising in other countries in the setting up of a European version of the IMF. "Instead of preventing problems," Van Bommel says, "this will punish countries in difficulties. With an EMF we will simply increase the chances that rights of workers on dismissal will be weakened, or that the rate of interest will be forced upwards. Why is there no proposal to tackle speculators or prevent competition around tax rates?" If the proposal does come to a referendum, the SP will be arguing for the treaty amendment to be rejected.

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