Dutch campaigners have gathered more than 56,000 signatures on a petition calling for The Netherlands to hold a referendum on whether to leave the EU, in the wake of the Brexit bombshell.
Even though their petition has little to no chance of success, organisers Patrick Crijns and Peter van Wijmeren told the Dutch daily NRC they wanted to “show that there is an interest in a Nexit.” A motion put forward by far-right, anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders to the Dutch parliament late Monday calling for the government “to make every effort to hold a referendum on the Dutch membership of the EU as soon as possible, a Nexit” was rejected by 124 votes against to 14 for.
“Everything has just got worse, since the arrival of the euro and the European Union which has seen our national sovereignty abandoned and our borders disappear,” the petition says.
“We are no longer building anything, but demolishing and dividing. That’s why we want a referendum to quit the EU.” But despite having put the petition with its 56,710 signatures – most of which have been added in the days since Britain voted on Thursday to leave the EU – to parliament, it is unlikely to find much traction.
Holding a binding referendum on Dutch ties to the EU would require a lengthy process to amend the country’s constitution, with no political appetite to launch such proceedings. Wilders has promised to organise a Nexit referendum if his Freedom Party (PVV) emerges as the largest bloc in the 150-seat parliament in March general elections and he is asked to form a coalition government.
But experts say there is little chance that other political parties will agree to work with him.