Skip to comments.Europe in crisis after Dutch, French reject treaty
Posted on 06/01/2005 5:04:40 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The European Union was in disarray on Thursday after the Netherlands followed France in resoundingly rejecting the bloc's new constitution, possibly stalling future expansion and disrupting decision making.
The rejection of the charter by two of the six countries that founded the bloc in the 1950s could deal a fatal blow to a treaty designed to make the EU run more smoothly following its enlargement from 15 to 25 states last year.
The votes also cast doubt on the EU's hopes for a stronger foreign policy and its plans to expand further to the western Balkans, Turkey and Ukraine, and raised questions about its appetite for economic reform amid mounting global competition.
The Dutch "No" vote of 61.6 percent was even more decisive than the nearly 55 percent scored by French opponents of the treaty. Turnout was also a strong 62.8 percent, well above the 39 percent in last year's European parliament election.
EU leaders urged member states to press on and ratify the constitution, but analysts said they should admit the document is dead. EU leaders are due to decide how to proceed when they meet for a regular summit on June 16-17.
"To have such a very, very large turnout after the French vote but also to have such an overwhelming "No" is really crushing for the constitutional treaty," said Richard Whitman from the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who was criticized for a lacklustre "Yes" campaign, could face a parliamentary vote of confidence on Thursday but it has little chance of success. Balkenende has said he would not quit.
Latvia's parliament is expected to approve the treaty with a big majority on Thursday, meaning 10 members representing almost half the EU's 454 million citizens will have approved it.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called on member states to proceed with ratification and not preempt their summit meeting with "unilateral decisions" before then.
Britain faces a decision next week on whether to suspend or go ahead with legislation to pave the way for a referendum.
Poland said on Wednesday it would decide how and when to ratify the constitution after the EU summit. It had planned a referendum in October, but the opposition has demanded a delay.
The Czech Republic said on Wednesday it would seek an extension of the November 2006 deadline for ratification to give countries that vote "No" more time to reconsider.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker voiced concerns on Wednesday about the July 10 referendum on the treaty in his broadly pro-Europe state after the Dutch "No."
"I myself and others must plead the European cause with lots of vigor," he told reporters in Brussels.
Juncker, whose country holds the EU presidency, also said the Dutch and French rejections do not alter the economic fundamentals underpinning the euro, despite the single currency touching a new eight-month low after the Dutch result.
The euro has fallen by nearly 10 percent from its level in mid-March, when markets began factoring in the possibility of national rejections of the treaty.
Former European Central Bank chief Wim Duisenberg agreed with Juncker that the euro should not suffer lasting damage, but said the votes would be a blow to economic reforms in the bloc.
"The political uncertainty created will hamper the efforts in Europe to introduce more structural reforms which are so very, very necessary," Duisenberg told CNN television. "It will take us a couple of years at least to reassemble ourselves."
The result is also likely to make it harder for EU leaders to reach a deal on the long-term EU budget, already difficult because of a looming early German election.
Dutch Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm signaled the Netherlands would toughen its demands for a cap to the EU budget after the "No" vote and push for a cut to the Netherlands' per capita contribution, which is the highest of all 25 member states.
The votes could cast doubt on the EU's plans to expand further. Romania and Bulgaria are likely to join in 2007 as their accession treaties have already been signed but membership bids by Turkey, Ukraine and Balkan hopefuls might be disrupted.
"Enlargement is going to be one of the big casualties of this decision," said Mendeltje van Keulen, analyst at the Clingendael Institute near The Hague.
"Romania and Bulgaria have probably just got in time ... but for Croatia or Turkey it's a different story."
Quick, let's send them our illegal aliens and our unions to help out.
Eurabia in Crisis!
The unwashed masses keep getting in the way of the EU power brokers.
True enough, they have a cancer within.
Yes, it must be unanimous. It was the same for the Declaration of Independence.
Can someone summarize the advantage of joining an "EU" to any given nation? It seems to me that countries would basically become States in the US sense, ruled by a central EU government. Why give up sovereignty in order to compete 1 to 1 with the US and China?
Croatia is Catholic and Turkey is Muslim, but for the EUrocrats it does not make difference as Europe is just a random cluster of states. Religion has nothing to do with the European culture.
Hal Lindsey's not gonna like this ...
This is too good to be true ! Two high's like this in one week !
What did you say, Bones?
From the NY Times
"The Dutch people won against this crazy constitution," said Tiny Kox, a member of the small Socialist Party, which was pivotal in the campaign opposing ratification.
A good name for a socialist!
Let the Europeans wither in socialism.
"Religion has nothing to do with the European culture."
Maybe not in a positive sense, but the Islamic problem in Holland had a huge influence on the people voting no. This was in part a vote to stop Turkey with all its muslim citizens getting in.
The Eurocrats are so out of touch with the people that they haven't noticed that the worm is starting to turn.
Send the waaaaaaaaahmbulance to pick up all the crushed globalists ...
Europe was in a crisis long before these votes of the past few days.
Lucky for the Dutch and French they signed on to Kyoto. Otherwise they would be left with nothing to help the business side of their economies.
>>>>"The Dutch "No" vote of 61.6 percent was even more decisive than the nearly 55 percent scored by French opponents of the treaty. Turnout was also a strong 62.8 percent, well above the 39 percent in last year's European parliament election."
Probably the most important paragraph, for analysis. Sixty percent MORE people voted today - it is highly likely that nearly all of them voted No - many of them couldn't care less about voting "for" some fool bureaucrat and the majority of them probably didn't even bother last year - this 60% just sent a very clear message, "WE WANT OUT".
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