Like it or not

Like it or not

Many were happy to see the Council of State in The Hague advise against dropping a constitutional referendum as condition for Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten (see Monday paper) to gain full independence. Some in the Dutch Caribbean had argued this requirement should not exist when the democratically elected Parliament takes that decision.
The latter might appear to make sense if a political party specifically campaigned for such and won the popular vote by a landslide but – even then – the choice is so fundamental and impactful for not just the current but also future generations that the people must be consulted. Some suggest this can be delayed until after negotiations on content for example at a round table conference (RTC); however, most seem to feel it should take place beforehand.
Mind you, the related proposal to allow for an easier “withdrawal from the kingdom” came from the Netherlands and particularly the conservative VVD back in 2019. Although that’s the party led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, experience has shown that he and his legislative faction are not always on the same line.
The council said present safeguards in the Kingdom Charter ensure this far-reaching step is only possible “with a high degree of agreement” among the population as well as elected representatives. While independence does not necessarily mean losing one’s Dutch and thereby European Union (EU) passport right away, it remains a major long-term concern within the community, like it or not.

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