Advertise On EU-Digest

Anual Advertising Rates

1/9/16

Holland's Ukraine vote - by Andrew Stuttaford

A majority of Dutch voters is opposed to the Netherlands’ ratification of the European Union’s association agreement with Ukraine, a new poll ahead of an April 6 referendum on the issue showed Saturday.

The poll, conducted by the Dutch public broadcaster’s program EenVandaag, is the first barometer on the April 6 vote. It found that over 50 percent of voters “are certain” to reject the Ukraine agreement, while another quarter of respondents said they’ll “likely” reject the deal. Over half of respondents also said they will certainly cast a ballot, while another 17 percent said they’d “most likely” vote.

The threshold for the referendum to be taken into account is a turnout of 30 percent. The organisors of the referendum are the eurosceptic think-tank Forum for Democracy, the eurosceptic news website Geenstijl.nl (which gained notoriety for exposing the practice of MEPs signing in to claim their daily allowance before sodding off) and Burgercomité EU, the campaign for a full referendum on EU membership.

Geert Wilders, the leader of the populist anti-EU and anti-immigration PVV party which is currently leading in the opinion polls has been an enthusiastic supporter of the campaign, although the organisers have done their best to keep their distance from him and party politics in general.

The VVD, the main party in the Dutch coalition, has dubbed the organisers of the initiative as “friends of Putin”, a sensitive accusation in the wake of the shooting down of flight MH17 last year.

The question of the EU’s relations with both Russia and Ukraine has been a factor in the campaign; the Association Agreement is unpopular some quarters as there are fears Ukraine will benefit from greater financial support from Dutch taxpayers and that the move to remove visa requirements for Ukrainians will lead to greater immigration from that country.

There are also concerns that the deal effectively commits the Netherlands to side with Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. However, that said, this should first and foremost be seen as a proxy for many Dutch citizens’ desire for a broader debate about the EU and the direction it is heading in. Given that a full on referendum about EU membership is explicitly excluded in the [Dutch] legislation establishing the referendum mechanism, campaigners latched onto the EU-Ukrainian Association Agreement as the best option for forcing the debate.

They needed a piece of EU legislation which was yet to come into force and upon which they could hang their broader concerns, this agreement seemed to fit the bill. Thierry Baudet, an author and academic who launched the Forum for Democracy has said that “We will put the question of the EU on the agenda with a broad focus on all aspects of the EU.” More generally, it is also reflective of the wider anti-establishment mood that is sweeping across much of Europe. Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/429509/hollands-ukraine-vote

Read more click here
A majority of Dutch voters is opposed to the Netherlands’ ratification of the European Union’s association agreement with Ukraine, a new poll ahead of an April 6 referendum on the issue showed Saturday.

The poll, conducted by the Dutch public broadcaster’s program EenVandaag, is the first barometer on the April 6 vote. It found that over 50 percent of voters “are certain” to reject the Ukraine agreement, while another quarter of respondents said they’ll “likely” reject the deal. Over half of respondents also said they will certainly cast a ballot, while another 17 percent said they’d “most likely” vote.

The threshold for the referendum to be taken into account is a turnout of 30 percent. The organisors of the referendum are the eurosceptic think-tank Forum for Democracy, the eurosceptic news website Geenstijl.nl (which gained notoriety for exposing the practice of MEPs signing in to claim their daily allowance before sodding off) and Burgercomité EU, the campaign for a full referendum on EU membership.

Geert Wilders, the leader of the populist anti-EU and anti-immigration PVV party which is currently leading in the opinion polls has been an enthusiastic supporter of the campaign, although the organisers have done their best to keep their distance from him and party politics in general.

The VVD, the main party in the Dutch coalition, has dubbed the organisers of the initiative as “friends of Putin”, a sensitive accusation in the wake of the shooting down of flight MH17 last year.

The question of the EU’s relations with both Russia and Ukraine has been a factor in the campaign; the Association Agreement is unpopular some quarters as there are fears Ukraine will benefit from greater financial support from Dutch taxpayers and that the move to remove visa requirements for Ukrainians will lead to greater immigration from that country.

There are also concerns that the deal effectively commits the Netherlands to side with Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. However, that said, this should first and foremost be seen as a proxy for many Dutch citizens’ desire for a broader debate about the EU and the direction it is heading in. Given that a full on referendum about EU membership is explicitly excluded in the [Dutch] legislation establishing the referendum mechanism, campaigners latched onto the EU-Ukrainian Association Agreement as the best option for forcing the debate.

They needed a piece of EU legislation which was yet to come into force and upon which they could hang their broader concerns, this agreement seemed to fit the bill. Thierry Baudet, an author and academic who launched the Forum for Democracy has said that “We will put the question of the EU on the agenda with a broad focus on all aspects of the EU.” More generally, it is also reflective of the wider anti-establishment mood that is sweeping across much of Europe. Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/429509/hollands-ukraine-vote

No comments: