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Europe

Commission Delays Suing Dutch

In order to avoid a head-to-head confrontation with the Dutch EU Presidency, the European Commission has decided to postpone a decision on a court case against the Netherlands over European election results.

In May, the Commission had threatened the Netherlands, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, with a court case if immediately published results of its European Parliament elections on June 10 -- three days before the last votes in the EU were cast. But the Dutch ignored the warnings by the Commission and released their election results without delay. The Brussels executive has claimed repeatedly that the Dutch move was illegal, referring to the European Elections Act which obliges member states to keep their election results under embargo until the last ballot box in the EU closes. The Commission has now decided to postpone its decision on whether or not to take the Dutch to court until next December at the earliest - when the Dutch presidency will be near its end. A Commission spokesman qualified the move by the Commission to the EUobserver as "political," referring to a special meeting of national electoral experts in November which the Commission wants to await first. The EU executive looks set to refrain from any moves against the Dutch until they have handed the EU presidency to Luxembourg, on Jan. 1. (EUobserver.com)

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