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Monday, 4 February 2013 10:17

THE HAGUE — Lower Chamber member Ronald van Raak (SP) thinks the people of Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten are to give their opinion on the relation with the European Union. Van Raak therefore argues to hold a referendum on the islands.In a debate this Wednesday on the status of Overseas Countries and Territories (LGO), the Lower Chamber will discuss the relation between the three Caribbean countries and Europe. “I find it difficult to take a decision that has so much influence on the future of your island. In the Netherlands we also learned not to take such decisions without asking the people’s opinion. Therefore, it’s important to go through the advantages and disadvantages of closer ties with Europe once more”, Van Raak wrote in a letter to the residents of the three countries.


As possible advantages the member of the Lower Chamber mentioned assistance in the field of trade, the economy, environment and the social and cultural developments. As disadvantages he mentioned the increasing bureaucracy and meddling, drawing a comparison with Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. “Also then the people on the islands had hoped for more help and money. Instead, they were deluged with so many laws and rules, which haven’t made the administrators and people very happy. Although there is much bureaucracy in the Netherlands, it is nothing compared with the European Union”, he wrote. Van Raak also warned a closer bond with Europe could lead to the introduction of the euro; the communal currency, which has led to the current severe crisis in Europe, and which many people in the Netherlands now regret.” Van Raak wrote he finds it particularly difficult to take a decision because Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten have their own vision with regard to Europe. Aruba would gladly become part of the European Union but without all meddling and wish to keep the dollar as currency. St. Maarten would gladly work together with countries in the Caribbean region; a wish that doesn’t require the bond with the European Union, and Curaçao will mostly want to know the consequences of a closer bond with the European Union for the government’s finances and the employment, he wrote. Van Raak concluded he will request the Dutch government to go through all advantages and disadvantages with the authorities of Curaçao, St. Maarten and Aruba so the latter can express their opinion in a referendum on their future in Europe, said the member of the Lower Chamber.