The Netherlands – Europe’s New Obstructionist?: The Re-positioning of a Model EU Member State’s European Policy

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Series Details No.29, June 2005
Publication Date June 2005
ISSN 1861-1761
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On June 1, the Dutch voters rejected the EU Draft Constitutional Treaty with a clear 62% majority. With this 'No' vote, the Kingdom of the Netherlands put another stumbling block in the way of the ratification process.

At the same time, the rejection reflected the Dutch citizens' displeasure, which has grown over the years, with the fundamental developments in the EU, in particular their supposed loss of influence, an increasing assertiveness of the big member states and an excessive financial burden on their country. The result of the referendum and the unyielding position of the Dutch with respect to the EU budget negotiations is an expression of the Netherlands' new attitude towards European integration.

The founding member of the European Community is clearly pulling out of the 'integrationist' camp, without however joining the 'Euro-skeptics'. Therefore, one should expect a new Dutch 'Euro-realism'. For the Netherlands to reassume its original role, the 'big' member states, and not least Germany, would have to show increased sensitivity to the smaller EU member states with respect to fundamental questions of European politics.

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