Dutch need in/out euro referendum, says former socialist leader

Wouter Bos [Partij van de Arbeid/Flickr]
Wouter Bos [Partij van de Arbeid/Flickr]

Wouter Bos, the former leader of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA), has said that an in/out referendum on the euro should be put to Dutch citizens. "It is the only way to provide democratic legitimacy to European integration," Bos remarked on Sunday (9 March).

According to Bos, a referendum on the country’s membership of the eurozone would provide clarity in the debate.

“Voting in favour means to vote for the euro, for a banking authority and for [offering] financial aid [to other member states]. Voting against means bearing the consequences,” and thus accepting an exit from the eurozone, Bos argued at a debate on the European economic crisis on Sunday.

Bos served as Labour's president from 2002 to 2010 and as finance minister in the Dutch government from 2007 to 2010. He stepped out of politics in 2012.

“I can afford to speak out on bold ideas now,” he explained.

Diederik Samsom, the PvdA’s current party leader, reacted on Monday, saying he does not endorse the idea. Samsom said a referendum could be organised in case of an EU treaty change, but dismissed suggestions to organise such a vote in the near future.

The question about whether to organise a referendum keeps returning to Dutch politics. Last year, populist figurehead Geert Wilders challenged the socialists to jointly organise a public consultation on the country’s EU membership.

In the United Kingdom, David Cameron has promised to hold an in-/out referendum over the country's EU membership. The consultation will be organised after 2015, if his Conservative Party wins next year’s national elections.

Bos’ suggestion would only concern The Netherlands’ membership of the monetary union and eurozone, however.

Eurosceptics breathing down neck of government

The socialists, a member of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group in the European Parliament, form a coalition government with the liberal-conservative VVD party, which is affiliated to the European liberal party ALDE.

But Dutch mainstream parties face strong pressure from eurosceptics, and recent polls credit Wilders' eurosceptic Freedom Party (PVV) with 17% to 19% of voting intentions at the next European elections.

Wilders has waged a campaign against the euro and the EU for years. In February, he presented a study on the ‘Nexit’ in which he claimed that walking out from the EU would be good for the Dutch economy. Observers widely believe he is likely to dominate the debate on whether The Netherlands should stay or leave the eurozone.

A large part of Dutch public opinion has opposed aid packages in the EU’s response to the financial crisis and many also protest against the country's net contribution to the EU budget.

In 2005, Dutch citizens rejected the European constitutional treaty by 61%. The Netherlands was the second country to reject the text, after 55% of French voters voted against the treaty three days earlier.

  • 19 March: Local elections in The Netherlands
  • 22-25 May: European elections
  • 2017: Referendum in the UK on its EU membership proposed by Cameron
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an european's picture

We should create the United States of Europe despite without Geerd Wilders or the entire NL or France if they don't want !
Ne euro No EFTA No Say !

Gerry's picture

The chance of such a move succeeding is pretty well non existent, but it would force people to focus on the subject, make up their minds and stop their bickering.

Barry Davies's picture

The euro isn't such a big problem to the Dutch as it is for the pigs nations, so a referendum on that single aspect is unlikely to succeed and then be abused as a vote in favour of the whole eussr project by the corruption ridden democratically deficient eussr, that isn't us the people we are only governed by it. It is time to dismantle the whole sorry excuse for an empire and allow the people of europe to grow again instead of the destruction being dropped on to us by this vile body. While in the eussr we have no say in how we are governed and only yet europhile minority are in favour of that condition.

James 's picture

All this fuss. Originally the skeptics thought it would not happen; then it did. Thereafter nothing but prognostications of an imminent collapse...dream on. It ain't going to collapse and Soros is absolutely right. The Euro is here to stay. Like any currency it is the creature of the Banking system and the politicians who meddle continuously with the "pound in our pocket" and know this are responsible for creating the circumstances to have an unsustainable economy, now wishing for inflation (oh! deflation, horror of horrors), now using public debt and not ever able to repay it except by devaluing the worth of money. Some call it quantitative easing! The public is not fooled; we want money that keeps its value and that the Euro does quite well. I applaud the stubborness and vision of European politicians that understand this and work to ensure the Euro works - to make a disciplined single market operate for all but the Luddites.

Barry Davies's picture

Well it is odd that the nations within it are making comments about it damaging their economies for some it is to strong for others to weak and it is having an adverse effect on the single market, however you europhiles carry on with your rose tinted blinkered propaganda that everything to do with the eussr is good. The Skeptiks never thought it wouldn't happen it was after all an edict from the unelected failed politicians on the commission, what did happen is that the ERM almost bankrupted Britain and we had to bail out of it before it was to late, since then we have stabilised despite the world wide economic downturn, unlike the eurozone how many nations have we had to bail out now?

James 's picture

Would some one please tell me what the "EUSSR" is?

Barry Davies's picture

It's the illegitimate body that is governing our natioERM was.

David Smith's picture

@James: It is what those either to young to know or to ignorant to understand call the EU when attempting to claim that the EU is undemocratic -liking it to the one party state that was the communist Soviet Russia.

@Barry Davis: What you fail to understand (what a surprise but then you only ever seem to repeat the chants of UKIP) is that had there been full EMU/Euro implementation the Euro would not have the issues it has -no one suggests that the USD in California is worth any less or more than in Texas or Montana for example, even though in each of those US states the health of their economies are very different so why do these people expect different from the Euro. The problem is that, for some, the collapse of the Euro is more important than what such a collapse might do for the ordinary people of the EU.

Joe Thorpe's picture

@DavidSmith Out of the 500 Million peoples of the EU Who has ever actually ever voted to adopt the Euro?

David Smith's picture

@Joe Thorpe: Out of the 500 Million peoples of the EU Who has ever actually ever voted to adopt energy saving light bulbs, or any other EU regulation - what 500 Million peoples have NOT done is vote on mass for europhobe parties either in their domestic or MEP politicos - you can't have your bread buttered on both sides of the argument, if you believe in parliamentary democracy you can't then criticise it when it fails to deliver what you want. How many people in the UK ever voted directly to abolish Pounds, Shillings and the old penny etc. - assuming if you know what they were!

United Alliance's picture

@ James

Barry Davies is confounding Communism with Capitalism!
E.U. isn't even Soviet !

But it can be called European Union Strongest Single Republic

James 's picture

Some people are basically illogical. Who has ever voted to have the Euro? Or the £ or the DM or the Frank for that matter. Why every monetary system has been dependent on the Banking system. Just look at the BoE notes "for the Gvr and Comp.ia" When did you vote for that? and as for the USSR good riddance...unless you wish to assign to Putin its reconstitution including the reinglobation of Krimea, Ukraina or other unfortunates in its path? Give me the EU any day.

Joe Thorpe's picture


There was no loss of sovereignty swapping to decimalisation although it was a disaster that even I understood during my pre-teen years. Remember when we got a lucky bag for half a penny & 4 Large Chews for a half penny? I'm talking old pennies? When we got the new money it was still 4 Chews to the half penny but the pound only had a hundred pennies. I realised early that being European was not good as I got a lot fewer sweets for my 2 bob pocket money

Joe Thorpe's picture


The EU or the Euro wont save anyone from Russia, you can't love Putin to death. EU countries wont invest in their own defense CSDP is a poinless exercise in sponging off France & UK defense shield without having to make hard choices about social spending or defense spending. The Americans have lost patience with European countries when it comes to defense

David Smith's picture

@Joe Thorpe: If you think that the good old UK had not lost its "sovereignty" (in effect) well before we joined the EEC back in 1973 then you are either very pro the USA or (more likely) very lacking in your historical facts! Oh and as for exchange rates, at the moment for every 4 Chews for your half penny you would get 6 for every half cent of a Euro... :) What the likes of you basically do not want is DEMOCRACY, I would have no problem staying or leaving the EU but people like you don't want to accept the democratic vote, you basically want a de-facto exit, you basically can't accept that people have their chance to vote for anti EU party(s) at national and/or EU level but choose not to.

Barry Davies's picture

David Smith if you think the UK had lost sovereignty before we were dumped into the eussr in the 70's just where had we lost it to, certainly not the USA which the TTIP signed by the unelected commission will effectively do giving control to American companies, not even their government.

What europhiles hate is the idea that we should have any democracy, we should be a one party state run by the unelected in their small minded world.

The reference to decimalization was referring to the loss of the 240 pence per pound to 100 pence per pound actually ignited inflation because everything became more expensive overnight as all prices got rounded up, 0.2 of a penny increase old penny to new halfpenny, but over every transaction it mounted up, especially as the new halfpenny was quickly discarded making the base 2.4 old pennies to 1 new penny.

James 's picture

"people like you don't want to accept the democratic vote,
you basically want a de-facto exit, you basically can't accept that people
have their chance to vote for anti EU party(s) at national and/or EU level
but choose not to."

Hear hear! a typically very USSR or is it UKIP attitude to boot.
I Could not agre more with this profound analysis.

Barry Davies's picture

Well lets see UKIP want to give the people a binding referendum, that is whatever the outcome they will accept it, the conlablibdum don't want to allow the people a vote, and the eussr makes people vote again if the disagree with its aims, now which one of those is democratic, and which 2 are not.?

Joe Thorpe's picture


We have no democracy in the EU we are a diluted 1 of 28. Whatever we vote for we end up with what the rest of the EU wants. We share next to nothing with the rest of the EU but we have to live like them now regardless because we have no voice.

David Smith's picture

@Barry Davies: You really do not know much about post WW2 UK history do you?!...

Barry Davies's picture

Well DavidSmith it seems that I understand it far more than you do, but then I lived through most of it. I presume you have never heard of halfpennies they would have disappeared before you were born.

David Smith's picture

@Joe Thorpe: Funny, don't we have a vote in May (and don't criticise PR, UKIP were in favour of changing the UK's own domestic electoral system to incorporate it), I suspect that by 'democracy' what you actually mean is that the majority of 'plebs' don't share your version of what you think democracy should be.

If the British are always halfway out of the door rather than sitting at the discussion table is it any wonder that the rest of the EU don't bother listening?

@Barry Davies: As I've said before, the last thing UKIP actually want is a referendum, hence the name of the party, after all Sir James Goldsmith's "Referendum Party" original was told were to go by the UK voter between 1992 and '97. For UKIP to be able to deliver a referendum on their terms they will need to hold a majority (even if part of a coalition) and thus as withdrawal is a manifesto pledge...

David Smith's picture

@Barry Davies, I well remember £S&d, thank you! I also remember the fact that the UK had a whacking war debt with the USA after 1945 (which we only, relatively, recently made the final payment on), or the fact that the UK handed over vast areas of the UK to the US military after the end of WW2, never mind scrapping the UK's own independant nuclear deterrent and became dependant on the wish and will of the USA. I don't have any vivid memories of the long lost British Empire, unlike you it would seem, thus I don't hold any misplaced visions of the UK's place in the world!

Barry Davies's picture

I don't remember the Empire I have never said I do, but I do remember when we had Steel works ship building an aero industry, and made biggest part of our cars motorbikes and trucks. remember ERF, Foden, Atkinson, Commer, Dennis, Scammel, Albion, AEC, Leyland, Dodge, Bedford, and Ford, where are they now.?

james's picture

With comments such as these I can see why the Scots are having an OUT referendum. Such feelings of not being represented by Westminster could be shared by Yorkshire or Cornwall. It's too easy to blame Brussels and the "other 27". Indeed when it comes to it, for example, Cornwall has had a great deal of money and attention from the EU coffers (as have our farmers and fishermen) - unlike Crimea - though most would not want to let you know about it (in case they miss out in future ?). On May 22 these and others and all of us will also be voting for their representatives in the EP. So we will see how that pans out. And why have a referendum in England? Is it to satisfy the UKIP? Let's see how the Swiss get on with their return to 1999, nationalism and new immigration rules, before we can even try to assess the real impact of a similar outcome for the UK and the singe market(minus Scotland?) if it decides democratically to pull out.

David Smith's picture

@Barry Davies: I to remember when the UK had those industries and companies, and we had them long after we joined the EEC, it seems to me that you are blaming the EU for what the Tories did in the 1980s, yet you appear to support many of the people who either instigated the policies of the Tory party or who would have voted for them. Once again you have proved to be looking for a scapegoat, in the 1980s it was all the fault of the Unions, since the unions have been tamed it the scapegoat has been the EU - sorry to say this but, you come over as either extremely dim or at best totally illogical, simple solutions for simple minds I guess...

Barry Davies's picture

a, crime is not in the eussr so why would it get anything from the eussr
b, We get nothing whatsoever from eussr coffers we are a net contributed to it.
c, our fishing industry has been decimated and foreigners form eussr nations are fishing in our waters.
d, our farmers get very little from the cap which we pay for the biggest recipients are France.
e, I don't have a crystal ball so I don't know if Scotland will vote to the UK and the eussr.

David those industries started to go as soon as we joined the eussr, the Unions tried to keep them going despite the government's plan to get rid of them, the unions haven't been tamed they have been destroyed. Then I suppose it is easy for people to just be sheeple and believe the propaganda that the eussr and the conlablibdum spread about rather than looking at the truth. Anyone that thinks that the UK has benefitted from the eussr is extremely dim or is very rich from working there.

David Smith's picture

@Barry Davies: As I said, for some only simple solutions for simple minds can ever suffice as people like you simply don't seem to have the intellectual ability to process actual historical facts. Carry on fighting your old battles, you must be getting good at dodging your own shadows and those pesky scapegoats, just a pity that you have not yet worked out that they are not real...

Barry Davies's picture

Indeed David you are one hundred percent right about that person in the mirror. He needs simple little words like "we can't cope without being in the eussr" so that you feel clever. It seems that like the other euorophiles you don't let simple thing like facts get in the way of your federalisation ideation, BTW that shadow behind you is IDS whose kill the poor and needy policies could affect you when your job goes to a foreigner in the country or like so many others gets moved abroad, just like all the British production machinery started to go at the end of the 70's early 80's, the stuff from the factory I worked at at the time went to India, so that they could do the production instead of us. So don't come here bleating about history I was there not reading it in a fascist handout.