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Dutch News
Public draws up vision on EU 3/16/2007
AMSTERDAM – There is no better way to involve citizens in Europe than to have them debate the issue over a weekend. No fewer than 96 percent of the participants in the public consultation on the future of Europe said they have become more interested in Europe as a result. The Dutch public consultation on the future of Europe was held in Amersfoort this weekend.

One of the participants: "If I knew then what I know now I would have voted "yes" in the referendum." This public consultation meeting resulted in a "vision on the role of Europe" in the areas of the environment and energy, social policy and immigration.

One of the recommendations was to levy progressive taxes on energy use in Europe and consider the underground storage of CO2 and the use of nuclear power as a temporary solution.

Another recommendation was to formulate a single uniform European immigration policy. People also want more flexible labour migration through the introduction of an EU "green card." The participants also want an extension of the non-discrimination principle into all areas of public life and European legislation on labour conditions.

All 27 states of the EU are organising this kind of public consultation by the end of March.

The Institute for the Public and Politics (IPP) gathered more than 30 citizens, randomly chosen by TNS NIPO, in Amersfoort. They debated all weekend.

Information and results were regularly exchanged with meetings being held simultaneously in Poland, France, Luxembourg, Denmark, Portugal and Greece.

The conclusions of the debate were presented on Sunday afternoon to Dutch members of the European parliament and national MPs.

A conference will be held in Brussels in May to merge the 27 national visions and recommendations into one report. The final document containing conclusions and recommendations will be presented to the European Commission and the European Council in June

The EU is particularly interested in the Dutch public''s view. Dutch citizens rejected the Constitutional treaty in a referendum in June 2005. Both researchers and political commentators have often pointed out that this outcome should not be seen as a "no" to Europe.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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