Dutch MPs vote against referendum on EU fiscal treaty

AMSTERDAM Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:29am EST

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch parliament, which has been highly critical of euro zone bailouts, on Wednesday voted against a proposal to hold a referendum on the European Union's new fiscal treaty.

Both the Freedom Party, the minority government's key ally which is against euro zone bailouts, and the Socialists, a euro-sceptic opposition party, had asked in separate motions for a referendum on the fiscal treaty. They said the pact would transfer power to the EU and could impact Dutch state finances.

Ireland decided on Tuesday to hold a referendum on the treaty, setting the stage for the first popular vote on the German-led plan for stricter budget discipline across the bloc.

In the Dutch parliament, a broad majority consisting of the ruling Liberal and Christian Democrat parties, and the opposition Labour, Liberal Democrat, GreenLeft and other smaller parties, voted against the referendum proposal as expected.

On Tuesday, the Dutch parliament gave grudging backing to Greece's second rescue package, saying it was needed to stabilize the currency bloc.

The Netherlands has been among the most reluctant countries to pledge bailout support, with Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager of the Christian Democrat party demanding close supervision of Greek budget cuts and reforms.

(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

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