We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.
close

September 04, 2017

Dutch referendum: never again?

The Dutch political class was badly shaken by the consultative referendum which opposed ratification of the EU-Ukraine association agreement in April last year. The agreement still hasn't been ratified despite the European Council's attempt to accommodate the result of the referendum by attaching an interpretative declaration to the agreement, partly because the Dutch political parties are taking over five months already to form a government out of the parliament returned by the March general election. But one thing the four parties negotiating the next cabinet seem to agree on is the need to scrap the consultative referendum law. According to Telegraaf, Mark Rutte's VVD and the Christian parties CDA and CU are all in agreement. The left-liberal D66, which was a big advocate of the referendum law on the grounds of democratisation, is now dissatisfied with the way the referendum law has worked in practice. D66 would prefer referendums to be binding, which would at least give clarity about a vote's meaning, but there seems to be little chance that the reform will go in that direction.

Nevertheless, the delay in forming the next government may mean that another referendum will sneak in before the door is closed. A group of students from Amsterdam are calling for a referendum on a new wiretapping law, which is set to come into force on January 1st. The Dutch Council of State on Friday confirmed that the students have gathered the requisite 10,000 signatures which now gives them another six weeks to gather at least 300,000. If they succeed, there would have to be a referendum within six months. The wiretapping law will come into force on January 1st regardless, even though the referendum law provides that laws should be suspended when there's a referendum pending on them. The caretaker interior minister Ronald Plasterk from the PvdA argues that there is time pressure for the law to come into force due to the need to fight terrorism more effectively, and that the parliament supports this. 

Show Comments Write a Comment

September 04, 2017

Why trade unions stay quiet on French labour reform

Françoise Fressoz wonders why the French unions are so calm about the labour law reform. A year ago, these sorts of proposals would have sealed the fate of a government. But under Emmanuel Macron, there is no united front of trade unions, the most effective weapon against any French government. The CGT is now alone among the unions in rallying against the reforms in September, supported by La France Insoumise. The FO will not participate and the CFDT prefers to protest in its own way later in October. And, at the same time, the reform proposals never went that far. 

How is this possible? Not only did Macron promise this reform on the campaign trail, and will push it through by presidential decree avoiding lengthy and loud debates in parliament. In their negotiations the government also sold to the unions that negotiating at the level of branches and companies could actually increase their influence. The FO is strong in the branches and the CFDT is well-placed to benefit from company-level negotiations. And the bonus is that, while the reform now gave the employers what they wanted, the unions have no reason to complain. One wonders who the real winners of the reform are, after all.

We also noted in the Greek press that the French labour reform foreshadows the visit of Macron in Athens. The Greeks had hoped to send a message of hope and support from France, but the labour reform law is the opposite of what Syriza wants to promote in Greece. The visit could thus easily end up in a PR disaster. But Tsipras still has high hopes for a good relationship to Macron as a way to find a counterbalance to the austerity messages from Berlin. 

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.

 

Recent News

  • May 31, 2017
  • Getting real in the debate on the euro's future
  • Russia's growing influence in Italy
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • May 28, 2018
  • A no-confidence motion that could backfire
  • The political repercussions of a historic referendum in Ireland
  • Why the lack of an international role for the euro matters
  • May 10, 2017
  • PSOE primary campaign in full swing
  • Czech government crisis escalates
  • Backroom dealing on electoral reform in Italy
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 13, 2018
  • German support for eurozone reform next to zero...
  • ... and no support for France on Syria either
  • A French sermon
  • Why the euro endures
  • April 19, 2017
  • Shadows of money
  • Breppe Grillo vs Eurointelligence
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • February 26, 2018
  • Angela Merkel's cabinet
  • March 27, 2017
  • Governing formation troubles - Northern Ireland edition
  • Did Trump present Merkel with a bill for Nato?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • February 28, 2017
  • Is Hamon losing the right wing of his party?
  • Something we just don’t understand
  • Solve the problem
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • November 13, 2017
  • A pro-European list: Wauquiez' nightmare
  • Catalan separatism isn't going away
  • Why oh why does Germany behave the way it does?
  • Why the four freedoms matter
  • February 01, 2017
  • Do Republicans have a plan B if Fillon falls?
  • Unforgiven
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • May 31, 2018
  • Hans Werner Sinn demands German euro exit
  • The politics of the SPD’s links to Russia
  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 21, 2018
  • SPD ministers want to continue grand coalition
  • February 12, 2018
  • What the euro debate is really about
  • How Brexit can still falter
  • July 06, 2017
  • On Merkel’s imperial overreach
  • When the opposition opposes to oppose
  • Everybody wants the medicines agency
  • November 29, 2016
  • On the politics of the Italian referendum
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 08, 2018
  • A renewed willingness on both sides to cut a Brexit deal
  • Latvian politics in turmoil after huge populist gains
  • April 10, 2018
  • A mood of radicalisation in France
  • The German far right makes inroads into trade unions
  • On the absurdity of a new centrist party in British politics
  • October 12, 2017
  • Panicking in London
  • Gabriel's unbearable hypocrisy on the eurozone
  • April 15, 2017
  • Happy Easter
  • October 19, 2016
  • Walloons stand firm
  • Juppé and Macron - father and son?
  • J’ai vraiment dit ça?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • October 04, 2018
  • The Brexit Queen’s new dancing clothes
  • Ceci n’est pas une crise politique
  • May 28, 2018
  • A no-confidence motion that could backfire
  • The political repercussions of a historic referendum in Ireland
  • Why the lack of an international role for the euro matters
  • January 19, 2018
  • On the futility of discussing the German current account surplus
  • The Brexit revocation madness
  • Varadkar, the enfant terrible in the Brexit negotiations
  • September 14, 2017
  • Bravo Mr Juncker
  • ... what he said about the labour market
  • ... and what his speech means for Brexit
  • May 11, 2017
  • Germany rejects IMF’s policy recommendations before they are issued
  • Why Labour is losing
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • August 26, 2016
  • Will the refugee crisis return?
  • Montebourg en avant
  • Moisi on Sarkozy's chances
  • Binary choices
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 25, 2018
  • Be careful what you wish for - second referendum edition
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • August 03, 2018
  • What we think about reforming the eurozone
  • July 09, 2018
  • German panic about Target2
  • AfD level with SPD
  • How the EU could fail
  • June 13, 2018
  • Macedonia - a deal hailed internationally and challenged at home
  • Macron - elusive to the left
  • What did Theresa May concede?
  • May 22, 2018
  • A €60bn ESM credit line - is this what they call a backstop?
  • Will Nato survive Trump?
  • Northern Ireland's Brexit disillusion
  • Would Corbyn become prime minister if he accepted the single market?
  • April 30, 2018
  • Looming May protests against Macron
  • France has discovered the Laffer curve
  • An important resignation in the UK
  • April 09, 2018
  • Orbán gets his supermajority
  • Riding the wave of resistance
  • The EU’s self-defeating strategy
  • March 19, 2018
  • Waiting for Germany
  • Russia’s friends
  • Can the Commons force an extension of the Art 50 period?
  • February 26, 2018
  • Angela Merkel's cabinet
  • February 08, 2018
  • Could the Irish question still trigger a hard Brexit?
  • January 22, 2018
  • Carles Puigdemont's flying circus
  • Macedonia and the insurrection of Greek patriotism
  • On the real hurdles for Brexit revocation
  • And the satellites, too
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • December 18, 2017
  • SPD regional party preemptively rejects grand coalition
  • Future of eurozone to be decided by March - we can hardly wait
  • December 04, 2017
  • Can Brexit still be stopped?
  • Could Poland open up the Posted Workers Directive again?
  • Has the Bank of England solved the productivity puzzle?
  • November 21, 2017
  • A short note on the impact of German political chaos on Brexit
  • A scandal, overshadowed
  • November 10, 2017
  • The Irish question intrudes
  • Beyond political parties
  • The European Commission - friend of the Glyphosate lobby
  • October 30, 2017
  • Italy's electoral reform seems to backfire already
  • Bregretometer hits another peak
  • October 19, 2017
  • Germany is softening up over Brexit
  • The French budget and the wealthy
  • Will Borut Pahor win re-election as Slovenian president?
  • October 10, 2017
  • The UK is slowly gearing up for a no-deal Brexit scenario
  • No liberal parties in Austria
  • October 02, 2017
  • Catalonia recalls EU and eurozone instability
  • French trade unions increase pressure over labour reforms
  • Watch out for a political accident in the UK
  • Municipal elections boost Portugal's Socialists
  • September 25, 2017
  • Where does this leave eurozone governance reform?
  • Is Mélenchon losing his momentum?
  • Lost in Florence
  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • September 14, 2017
  • Bravo Mr Juncker
  • ... what he said about the labour market
  • ... and what his speech means for Brexit
  • September 11, 2017
  • Turkey issues travel warning for visitors to Germany
  • How nasty is the AfD?
  • September 06, 2017
  • On the failure of global policy coordination
  • The day Catalonia disobeyed?
  • Waiting for Varadkar
  • September 05, 2017
  • On the Turkish question
  • Macron's unemployment insurance reform, next?
  • Labour to vote against the Repeal Bill