Dutch voters have demanded an in-out referendum on the Netherland’s membership in the European Union, amid growing fears that the entire European project is about to collapse.
With Britain due to hold a June 23 referendum, other countries are preparing for an imminent exit in the event that Britain leaves.
In a new opinion poll in the Netherlands, a majority of voters said they backed the country having its own in/out referendum on EU membership, similar to the UK vote.
And Czech Republic prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka has warned if Britons do decide to leave the EU, a ‘Czexit’ could follow.
In the Dutch poll, more than half (53 per cent) supported an in/out vote with 44 per cent opposed and four per cent unsure.
In the survey, conducted by pollster and entrepreneur Maurice de Hond, voters were also asked how they would vote in such an in/out referendum.
Only slightly more (44 per cent) wanted to remain in the EU than those who said they would opt to leave the bloc (43 per cent), while 13 per cent said they ‘didn’t know’.
Interestingly, more Dutch voters (48 per cent) said they didn’t want Britain to exit the EU this summer than wanted their own country to stay in the bloc.
It came as Mr Sobotka told local Czech media a Brexit from the EU this summer would ramp up calls for his own country to quit the bloc, despite only having joined in 2004.
He said: “If Britain leaves the EU, we can expect debates about leaving the EU in a few years too.”
“The impact may be really huge.
Mr Sobotka also warned a ‘Czexit’ could trigger an economic downturn and return the country to Russia and Vladimir Putin’s sphere of influence.
In a poll conducted among Czech voters in October last year, three-fifths of Czechs said they were unhappy with EU membership while 62 per cent said they would vote against remaining amember state in a referendum.
Serbia’s prime minister Aleksandar Vucic also voiced disillusionment with Brussels this week.
The politician, whose country isn’t yet a full member of the EU but is a candidate for membership, claimed being part of the bloc had lost its “magic power”.
Speaking at a conference in London yesterday, he said: “”The EU that all of us [Balkan countries] are aspiring to, it has lost its magic power.
“Yes we all want to join, but it is no longer the big dream it was in the past.”
He added: “When you see that in Britain at least 50 percent of the people say they want to leave [the EU] that has an effect on the public.”
Following David Cameron’s completion of his EU renegotiation last week and the announcement of the date of Britain’s referendum, other member states have warned of the ‘domino effect’ of Brexit causing other countries to quit the bloc.
Earlier this month, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond acknowledged other European politicians hold a “real fear” that “if Britain leaves, the contagion would spread”.
Speaking ahead of last week’s summit, European Council president Donald Tusk highlighted both the threat of Brexit and the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe as “the two biggest challenges to the future of the European Union”.
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