This certainly did not go by the script written in Washington!
The Dutch BNO news agency reported citing official data from all municipalities that 61.1 percent of the Dutch voted against the EU-Ukraine association agreement in the Wednesday referendum. According to BNO, the turnout was 32.2 percent.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Wednesday that the Netherlands could reconsider the ratification of the EU-Ukraine association deal as the majority of the population reportedly says “no” in the Dutch advisory referendum.
“We hope that this decision [on the EU-Ukraine association agreement] will meet the interests of Ukraine, the Netherlands and Europe,” the Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson said in the Wednesday statement.
The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, establishing a political and economic association between Kiev and Brussels, was signed in 2014. The Dutch government decided to hold a non-binding referendum after over 400,000 people signed a petition to put the matter to a nationwide vote.
Dutch Voters Reject Ukraine Deal in Blow to EU Unity
AMSTERDAM—Dutch voters opposed a landmark European Union trade deal with Ukraine in a referendum Wednesday, a sign of growing unease with the EU in one of the bloc’s core members.
Around 61% of voters rejected the EU’s association-agreement with Ukraine while 38% of voters supported the pact, according to provisional results released by public broadcaster NOS.
The full official count will be published on Tuesday.
Turnout was 32%, just above the minimum threshold of 30% for the referendum to be acceptable to parliament and taken into account by the Netherlands’ Dutch government.
The rejection by Dutch voters delivers a fresh blow to the EU just as the bloc is confronted with a postwar record inflow of migrants, increased terror threats and a fragile economy. Anti-EU sentiment is rising across the region, including in founding bloc members such as the Netherlands, which has long been a strong supporter of European integration.
Although the Dutch referendum is not officially binding and only a minority of the overall electorate voted against the agreement, the government pledged to abide by the outcome.