Dutch politicians concerned about "Brexit fever" spreading
Dutch parliamentarians are worrying about the Brexit-fever spreading to the Netherlands as the Binnenhof anxiously awaits the results on the British referendum on whether or not the United Kingdom will stay in the European Union, the Volkskrant reports.
"If the British vote for a Brexit, all hell will break loose in The Hague", CDA parliamentarian Raymond Knops commented to the newspaper. "Wilders will jump on it." The polls for the Brexit referendum opened in England, Wales, North-Ireland, Scotland and Gibraltar early this morning and will remain open until 10:00 p.m. tonight. According to NU.nl, a record number of Brits registered to vote - 46.49 million people, compared to 45.35 million who cast their vote in last year's parliamentary elections.
Knops' worry at least seems a legitimate concern. Only yesterday PVV leader Geert Wilders renewed his call for a so-called Nexit referendum. And his party is not the only one anymore. SP leader Emile Roemer added his call for a revision of the EU agreements and Dutch membership - he wants a simpler and much smaller EU treaty and thinks the Netherlands needs to hold a referendum on it.
Other parties are still pro-EU membership, for the Netherlands and Britain. Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) repeatedly called on the British to stay in the EU, citing trade interests above all, but also mentioning that we share the same sense of humor and TV series. "It would not be pleasant", VVD parliamentarian Anne Mulder commented to the Volkskrant. Coalition partner PvdA agrees. "Brexit is a false solution. The proverb is not for nothing 'together we are stronger'." Marit Maij said.
The in-between parties also warn that a Brexit will be bad for Europe's stability and trade. "The concerns are great", Kees Verhoeven (D66) said to the newspaper. Harry van Bommel (SP) adds: "There is great fear of infection for the same call in the Netherlands." he said. "The risk of contamination is not so much that there will be a Dutch referendum, but that the genie will be out of the bottle. That a Nexit becomes part of the elections in 2017."
According to a very recent poll by EenVandaag, 48 percent of Dutch are in favor of a Nexit and 45 percent want to stay in the EU. The vast majority wants a referendum on the matter. Though organizing a "Nexit referendum" will be a complicated matter, because the referendum law states that referendums can be held to decide on new laws or treaties. That does not cover a Nexit, as the EU treaty is definitely not a new one. If the SP gets its way to reform the EU treaty, that could be a matter for a referendum