The campaign demands:
1. An end to the creeping transfer of powers to the EU.Two of the campaigners, Dutch academic Thierry Baudet (photo), and economist Ewald Engelen said in a speech to MPs:
2. If powers are transferred to the EU, a referendum must be held so the Dutch population can have a say on this transfer of powers.
"The Lower House is about to lose its core competences...You won’t be able to decide policy any more. You abolish yourself. But you don’t have the right at all to do this. Because the sovereignty is with us, the people. You are merely the representatives of the Dutch people."As De Volkskrant reported, the reception was more positive than expected. It was not only the "usual suspects", like Geert Wilders' PVV, the Socialist Party and the Party for the Animals that welcomed the idea. These parties have expressed support for a Dutch-style "referendum lock" in the past,
More interestingly, the social-democrat PvdAalso came out in support, with its EU-spokeswoman Marit Maij MP, saying: "the PvdA wants to proceed quickly with a possible referendum" - albeit with a lot of qualifications,The party is only in favour of a non-binding referendum, and wants it to be held according to new rules currently being negotiated in the Dutch Senate, which would make it necessary to first obtain 300,000 signatures, a high threshold in the Netherlands (but something which the EU referendum campaigners are considering).
The Christian Union, which sits with the Tories in the ECR Group in Brussels, support the idea, with its spokesman, Gert-Jan Segers MP, saying that "by means of exception we accept an advisory referendum".
Dutch PM Mark Rutte's governing VVD reiterated its support for strengthening national parliaments (something which the PvdA also wants), but is against referendums as a tool of policy.
Meanwhile, a new poll, by prominent pollster Maurice de Hond, reveals that 67% of Dutch citizens want a referendum in the event of new powers be transferred from the Netherlands to the EU:
|Ja = Yes, Nee = No|