Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Dutch poised to kill EU treaty

Gareth Harding:

Opponents of the treaty in the Netherlands, which include the Socialists, the conservative Christian Union party and several far-left and right fringe groupings, believe the French rejection will give a boost to the "no" camp.

Hailing the French result as "the beginning of the end for the European super-state," right-wing Member of Parliament Geert Wilders said: "The treaty is half buried, but Brussels is clever enough to revive it. For that reason the Dutch electorate must overwhelmingly vote 'no.'"

Despite the "business as usual" approach adopted by officials in Brussels, there is a widespread consensus that a double rejection by two of the EU's founding members would spell the death-knell of the treaty, plunging the bloc into a profound institutional crisis.

Speaking in Italy Monday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair hinted that Britain may not go ahead with a planned referendum on the controversial 200-page text after French voters rejected the charter by a 55 percent to 45 percent margin. A "no" vote in the Netherlands is likely to convince Blair, and other European leaders, to draw a halt to the ratification process.

Stunned EU grappling with the hard questions

Polls: Dutch Seen Nixing EU Constitution

A New Europe?

Dutch voters set to follow the French

No-vote lobby gains ground in Luxembourg

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