06:26 GMT +312 November 2019
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    Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (L) is welcomed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ahead of their meeting at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, August 27, 2015

    Dutch Activists Succeed Launching Referendum on Ukraine-EU Association

    © REUTERS / Yves Herman
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    Dutch activists have succeeded in proposing a referendum on Ukraine's association agreement, which they say would be harmful to taxpayers in the Netherlands.

    The Netherlands are to hold a consultative referendum regarding Ukraine's association agreement with the European Union after a petition gathered nearly 428,000 signatures, far more than the 300,000 signatures required for such a vote.

    While a "yes" vote would not mean an immediate end to the association agreement, it would nevertheless force the Dutch government to consider the motion and its popular support. If the Netherlands does reject the association agreement, however, it would effectively mean the end for Ukraine's EU association aspirations until the deal is again reconsidered.

    "The Association Treaty with Ukraine, which has led to deteriorating relations between the West and Russia, is only an instrument to address a wider problem: the democratic deficit of the European Union," the referendum campaign website said.

    The Dutch government now has six months to hold the referendum, as required by the country's law.

    The signature campaign for the referendum was initiated by the GeenPeil ("No Level") Eurosceptic group. GeenPeil states that the association agreement would cost Dutch taxpayers billions in aid packages and other initiatives.


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    European Union, association agreement, referendum, Ukraine, Netherlands
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