The Dutch lower house of the parliament is voting on a bill on Thursday, 22 February, that would make it impossible for citizens to demand a referendum on future EU treaties, as they did with the EU-Ukraine association agreement, the EU Observer reported.
The four coalition parties supporting Mark Rutte's third government are expected to support the bill, but it will be a narrow vote. If just two of the coalition MPs fail to show up, the repeal bill could be rejected.
Opposition parties are almost unanimous in their rejection of the government position - believing it takes away a democratic tool from citizens after it was only used once in practice.
Most opposition MPs even want citizens to be able to demand a referendum about the bill that would take away their right to demand a referendum – something which The Hague wants to prevent.
Since 1 July 2015, Dutch citizens have had the right to demand that a non-binding referendum is held on any adopted bill if they are able to gather 300,000 signatures of support.
A week after the new law went into force, the Dutch Senate approved the EU-Ukraine association agreement, which governed trade relations between the two but also contained political commitments.
The plebiscite was held on 6 April 2016, and the 32 percent of voters who showed up overwhelmingly rejected the treaty – 61 percent voted against it.
For months, Rutte declined to simply accept or reject the public's verdict on the Ukraine treaty but instead lobbied his fellow EU leaders to help him find a solution.