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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 20:10 GMT 21:10 UK
Dutch launch EU treaty crusade
By Geraldine Coughlan
BBC correspondent at The Hague

Spanish Yes campaigners
Spain voted for the EU constitution, but turnout was low
The Dutch government has launched a campaign to promote the new European constitution amid fears that a French rejection could sway the referendum.

People in the Netherlands are due to vote on the treaty on 1 June.

The Yes campaign is increasingly concerned that the ongoing debate in France could influence Dutch voters.

The camp is considering calling off the referendum - the first-ever in the Netherlands - if French voters reject the EU constitution on 29 May.

Dutch fears

The latest surveys show more Dutch voters are against it than in favour. Like France, the Netherlands is one of the founding members of the EU.

But the Dutch are becoming increasingly sceptical about Europe.

One problem for Dutch voters may be the expanded powers the constitution gives Brussels over immigration, as the Netherlands tightens its policy on this issue.

The Dutch are also unhappy with the EU's financing rules - which make the Netherlands the highest per-capita contributor to the bloc.

Full-page advertisements in the leading Dutch dailies urge voters to participate in the referendum and learn more about the treaty from a free "constitution newspaper" to be published next week.

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