The press this morning are busily assimilating the result of yesterday’s Netherlands referendum. The FT reports on a survey by Dutch polling organisation Interview-NSS, which identified up to twenty different issues which influenced the no vote.
Top of the list the list was a fear that the Netherlands would lose influence in a Europe that would favour large countries.
Second in importance was the view that Dutch political leaders have failed to consult the public and have run a woeful campaign to encourage ratification. A quarter of No voters were against Turkey’s application for EU membership, and nearly as many feared a European super-state or were voting against Jan Peter Balkenende, Dutch prime minister. Then there is the euro: in the last weeks of the campaign, the argument that the Dutch guilder had been undervalued against the euro was a thorn in the government’s side. One-in-three No voters cited opposition to the euro as a reason for rejecting the treaty. (This seems to have some resonance with the fuss that the Stern article is causing in Germany, where the over-valuation of the Deutschmark on entry is one of the issues).
Participation was also high with turnout running at 62.8 percent, well above the 39 percent in last year’s European parliament election.
Frans writes from Utrecht:
First results suggest that the turn-out for the referendum on the constitutional treaty in the Netherlands will be well above the Dutch turnout for the last elections to the European Parliament and but below the French turn-out for the EU referendum.
I still find it hard to believe that so many of our political parties hold their own point of view so lightly that they have announced they will vote in parliament the way the majority of the votes will be cast. The Christian Democrats reached an even higher level of self-denial by announcing [b] only a few days before the referendum[/b] that they had changed their point of view on this issue: they will follow the majority of the vote not when the *NO* , is above [b]55%[/b] (previously their position had been they would do so if it was above [b]60%[/b]….. I personally feel embarrassed when I see this kind of decision coming from the most powerful political party in my country.
Many young people seem to be against: I heard yesterday of a school where the 16 and 17 year old students *voted* on the referendum: the *No* got more than 80% of the vote.
Also, if you happen to live in live in Utrecht, you had a [url=http://www.fransgroenendijk.nl/reactieding.php?id=P547_0_1_0]second referendum today[/url] (link to Dutch post).
In the Netherlands there are still fairly strong regulations about shop opening hours. In recent years there have been a total of 18 Sundays a year when the shops in the inner-city are allowed to open. So our second referendum was on allowing the shops in the inner-city to open every Sunday. Today the local newspaper has an amazing story about our local IKEA, which in a way has been offering money to vote for extra opening hours on Sundays. They have been giving away 5 euro coupons which will be valid only if the outcome of the referendum is yes. Shameless…