The Netherlands approves the Lisbon Treaty

The Netherlands has approved the Treaty of Lisbon. After the House of Representatives, now the Senate has agreed to the Treaty’s terms.

Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen and European affairs minister Frans Timmermans are delighted that the Treaty’s approval won a large majority in the Senate. On Monday and Tuesday, senators discussed the Treaty exhaustively with the two ministers.

‘The Lisbon Treaty strengthens the position of national parliaments in Europe while placing clearer boundaries on the powers of the EU and the member states. It’s a modest Treaty without constitutional aspirations,’ says Mr Verhagen. ‘At a time when we are facing challenges that don’t stop at our borders, the Lisbon Treaty will enable us to stand up for the interests of the Netherlands in the world. This has been underscored by a large majority in the Senate.’

Frans Timmermans also stresses the importance of the Dutch approval of the Lisbon Treaty. ‘This Treaty is essential to making the European Union work more decisively and democratically. To achieve progress in important areas like climate change, energy security, safety and security, and asylum and migration, Europeans will have to work together more readily and effectively. With a Union of 27 member states, you need clear ground rules. The Lisbon Treaty provides them.’

The House of Representatives approved the Lisbon Treaty by a large majority on 5 June. Now that the Senate has also done so, the Dutch parliamentary approval procedure is complete. This makes the Netherlands the 21st EU member state to approve the Treaty, which will become effective only once all 27 member states have done so.

An important obstacle to the Treaty’s progress is the result of the Irish referendum. On 15 October, EU heads of government will discuss the way forward following the Irish ‘no’ to the Lisbon Treaty. Meanwhile, the Irish government will examine the reasons for the ‘no’ vote and make proposals for a solution, in which an important role will also fall to the French EU presidency.