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Gov't Must Respect Dutch 'No' Vote at Referendum on EU-Ukraine Association

© AFP 2021 / Catrinus van der Veen / ANPOfficials count the votes of the Dutch referendum about the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine on April 6, 2016 at a voting office in Schiermonnikoog
Officials count the votes of the Dutch referendum about the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine on April 6, 2016 at a voting office in Schiermonnikoog - Sputnik International
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The Dutch government cannot ignore the will of the people who clearly expressed their opposition to the ratification of the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine at the national referendum, Bart Elsman, a spokesman for the Dutch Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party, told Sputnik on Friday.

Participants of a rally held by supporters of Ukraine's EU integration. File photo - Sputnik International
EU Association Deal Not Conferring Candidate Status, Aid Guarantees to Ukraine
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Thursday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that a parliamentary vote on the ratification of the deal would be held in January despite the results of the nation-wide referendum in April, when 61 percent of voters said they were against this deal.

"The CDA has said from the very beginning: we are against referendum in general, but this referendum has been organized by law, and once you ask the people what they want, you have to do something with that. The result has been that people voted NO, and in CDA we still believe that to be the case," Elsman said.

The Netherlands remains the only EU member state that has not ratified the EU-Ukraine treaty. Rutte moved to accelerate the ratification process after he secured support of the 27 other European leaders for a supplementary to the EU treaty with Ukraine that stated that the deal “does not confer on Ukraine the status of a candidate country for accession to the Union” and ruled out military or financial support to Kiev to mitigate Dutch voters' concerns.

The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement was signed in 2014 aimed at deepening political association and economic integration with Kiev being obliged to implement a series of reforms to gain free-trade access to the EU market. But most of all it has a geopolitical value: as Rutte put it this week, the deal with Ukraine was key for Europe to present a united front against Russia’s destabilizing foreign policy, while its rejection would have been a “gift to Russia”.

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