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The Netherlands: Dutch outsiders preparing warning shot on EU relationship with Ukraine

The Dutch Referendum vote on European trade and political ties with Ukraine on April 6 reflects the increased restlessness on the opposition benches in what was once the EU's heartland. The left fears the erosion of European labor and ecological standards, the right fears the hollowing-out of the state.

The EU relationship with Ukraine and its US propped up Government is mainly in force because it was dictated by the US to counter a potential Russian threat in Crimea 

Marianne Thieme is in the social-justice camp. As head of the first animal-welfare party to win seats in a European legislature, she opposes the overture to Ukraine because apart from the political implications  it would let in more industrially produced foods, undercutting higher-cost, higher-quality European farmers.

The negativity is made incarnate by Geert Wilders, who as head of the Freedom Party has turned euroskepticism into an art form. Wanting Muslims out of the Netherlands and the Netherlands out of the EU -- and facing trial in March for allegedly racist invective about Moroccans -- his party tops the opinion polls.

The Ukraine vote is the law's first test. With campaigning just under way, opinions are tightening. Opponents of liberalized EU-Ukraine trade are ahead by 55.5 percent to 44.5 percent, narrowing from 62 percent to 38 percent in December, according to a poll published Feb. 1 in De Volksrant.

A "democratic revolution" is in the works, with the Internet remaking society much as the printing press did, said Thierry Baudet, chairman of the Forum for Democracy and a co- initiator of the referendum. "Politics needs to change alongside those major events. And the EU is the most outdated of all: it's the 1970s solution to a 1950s problem."


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