The Dutch House of Representatives has rejected by majority a motion by opposition leader Geert Wilders for a referendum on the country’s European Union (EU) membership.
“I say this to everyone: the Dutch deserve a referendum as well,” Wilders stated while advocating his motion in parliament in The Hague on Tuesday.
“The Dutch should also be able to rule in favour or against the departure of the Netherlands from the European Union and the restoration of our national sovereignty and independence,” Geert, leader of Party for Freedom (PVV) said.
Only 14 of the total of 150 MP’s supported the motion for a ‘Nexit’ referendum, the 12 members of Wilders anti-EU Party of Freedom PVV and two MP’s who had separated themselves from the PVV.
A Dutch EU referendum would be possible with the backing of a majority of parliament or if the prime minister would issue a referendum. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has already stated that he is against a referendum in general and also against the Netherlands leaving the EU.
“That would have major consequences for the Netherlands, our stability and the recovery of our prosperity,” Rutte reacted on the outcome of Britain’s vote to leave the EU.
“I am absolutely against it. It would not be in the Dutch interest.”
According to a poll by Dutch news show EenVandaag on June 25, 54 per cent of the Dutch people would like to have a referendum on whether the Netherlands should stay part of the EU. The same survey showed there would be no majority for a Nexit, with 48 per cent voting to leave the EU.
According to Dutch law, citizens of the Netherlands can only apply for an advisory referendum and such a referendum can only deal with laws or treaties already adopted but not entered into force yet. This was the case in April when a majority of the Dutch voted against the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement.
Wilders won’t give up on his Nexit message.
“My proposal for a Nexit referendum was rejected today,” he said, adding “But the Dutch get a second chance on March 15, 2017, the day of our next general elections.”