Dutch Cabinet : Let European Union have opt-outs

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Associated Press

Posted on January 31, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 31 at 5:34 PM

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The Dutch government says European countries should be allowed to exit important European institutions after joining them, including the European Union, the eurozone and the Schengen free travel zone.

In a letter to parliament Thursday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said achieving that possibility will itself require treaty changes, because the Maastricht Treaty that established the euro and Schengen Agreement don't allow for exits.

The statement echoes remarks that Rutte made at the World Economic Forum earlier in January, when he said the EU shouldn't be like the "Hotel California" described in the song by rock band The Eagles as where "you can check out any time you like — but you can never leave."

Rutte's remarks follow British Prime Minister David Cameron's call for a 2017 referendum on EU membership.

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