Referendum pressures Netherlands to craft new Ukraine policy
The Dutch government will come with an reaction to the Netherlands "no"-vote in the Ukraine referendum last week, and plans on how to proceed, by September at the latest, Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs wrote in a letter to Parliament on Tuesday. The results of the referendum on the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine puts pressure on the government to reconsider its position, even though the results are not binding. According to Koenders, the result is not what they hoped for and the "no" vote puts the government in "uncharted territory". On Wednesday, just after the result forecasts showed a majority no vote, Prime Minister Mark Rutte already stated that the result will not be ignored and that the government will take time to discuss how to proceed. The question is how much of a difference it will make. The Netherlands is the only one of the 28 EU member states that hasn't ratified the agreement yet. And the European Commission already stated that the results of the referendum will have no effect on the agreement itself - it was already signed and unanimously adopted by all EU member states’ heads of government, and the Dutch “no” does not change that, a spokesperson for the European Commission said The official results will be announced later today.