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Dutch government rejects EU referendum in Netherlands


18:00, January 24, 2013

THE HAGUE, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Dutch Government made clear on Wednesday that following the announced British EU referendum, the Dutch EU membership will not be subject of a referendum.

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday said in his highly anticipated speech on Europe that the British population may decide on a possible withdrawal from the EU.

Cameron wants a referendum to be held after 2015, given his Conservative Party wins the next elections. Before that he wants to talk with the EU about changes.

Frans Timmermans, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, gave a statement on Wednesday on behalf of the Dutch government. "The European Union needs to be reformed, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom agree on that," he said. "Therefore we would like the British on board in the EU. Because the reforms start from within the EU, not by running away."

The anti-European parties in the Netherlands, the right wing populist Party of Freedom PVV and the Socialist Party SP, pleaded for a referendum on the relationship with the European Union in the Netherlands.

"The Dutch government is in favor of representative democracy," responded Timmermans. "In the Netherlands, besides all justified criticism that exists on the functioning of the EU, the membership is no point of discussion, as was shown in the results of the recent parliamentary elections."

The Dutch government want, just like the British, the EU as a whole to improve, but without individual opt-outs, with EU countries on parts not competing with the rest of the EU. "I hope that the British Government with us and other like-minded countries will put all energy in reforming the EU," said Timmermans.

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