Clash in EU Expected If Dutch Vote No in Referendum on Ukraine-EU Deal

© AFP 2023 / VASILY MAXIMOVAn EU flag flies in Independence Square in Kiev
An EU flag flies in Independence Square in Kiev - Sputnik International
A "No" vote in the upcoming Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine association will likely spark an internal EU dispute, a Dutch lawmaker told Sputnik Monday.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Saturday, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said that if the public voted against the EU-Ukraine association agreement in the upcoming referendum, under Dutch law, the government would have to review its position on the treaty.

The Netherlands is the only EU country, which has not yet ratified the Ukraine-EU association deal.

The Dutch government decided to hold a non-binding referendum on the Ukrainian association agreement after over 400,000 people signed a petition asking to put the matter to a nationwide vote.

"If the voters say NO… I would expect a clash in the EU and especially in the European Commission on what this exactly means. I don't think that Brussels will silently accept a Dutch NO, and there will be a lot of discussion on how to deal with it," Auke Zijlstra from the Dutch Party for Freedom said.

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He underlined that the Dutch government is not required to follow the decision of the people in the non-binding referendum, but "it would be politically unwise not to agree with the voters."

The Dutch public should not approve the Ukraine economic association with the European Union when they cast their ballots in an April referendum on the matter, he said.

“I expect the referendum to reach the required 30% of the votes, and I will campaign on voting NO. The association with Ukraine is not only a trade agreement.”

Zijlstra stressed that a no in the referendum "will put a stop to the unchecked expansion of the European Union.”

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