Dutch Treat


DOUBLE ACT: The Netherlands' Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende, at right, with President Chirac in Brussels

Everybody can find something to hate in the proposed E.U. constitution, even the tolerant Dutch. Socialists dislike its supposedly liberal tint; right-wingers resent the loss of sovereignty to Brussels; conservatives fear the document opens the door to Turkish E.U. membership; and die-hard integrationists think it's not federal enough. But in the ever-pragmatic Netherlands, which votes just three days after France, the debate has centered mostly on more concrete concerns: money and immigration. That grounding, however, doesn't imply consensus. The latest polls show the no vote increasing its lead. But France's decision could tip the balance.

In theory, the...

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