: EUobserver: Why the Dutch referendum on Ukraine is a joke

11:20 Apr. 5, 2016

EUobserver: Why the Dutch referendum on Ukraine is a joke

Man holds the Ukraine flag as demonstrators for a "YES" vote for Wednesday's upcoming EU-Ukraine referendum gathered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, April 3, 2016 (AP Photo)

The organisers willingly lied about their intentions and are not the least bit interested in Ukraine

On 6 April the Netherlands will vote on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

Watch also #DUTCHINUA: 'I will go and vote 'yes', Dutch trade minister on Ukraine-EU Association Agreement 

It is a treaty of the kind the EU has with many countries: think Moldova, Jordan, Chile, and many others. None of these countries is an EU member, nor will they become one anytime soon. Interestingly, not a soul raised a finger back when these agreements were negotiated.

For that reason, it is ever more curious as to why the people behind the upcoming referendum are making such a fuss about the agreement with Ukraine. With astonishment do I look at the arguments presented as truths by the ‘no camp'. Increasingly, these ‘arguments' are identical to those posed by Russian state media.

Watch also Ukraine Today's interviews of the #DUTCHINUA project

Recently, the organisation known as ‘GeenPeil', one of the chief organisers of the referendum, stated in a campaign flyer that "Ukraine is a country suffering from a civil war where fascist militias roam the streets". It is for this reason that the people from the Netherlands should vote against "open borders with a country in a state of war".

I invite you to google the websites of RT (the former Russia Today) and Sputnik News for an afternoon. Believe me, you will come across many similar statements. Surprising? Not really.

It is interesting to see that two years after Russia's annexation of Crimea that both GeenPeil, as well as the Kremlin appear to suffer from amnesia. After all, the forceful annexation of part of a sovereign nation's territory by another state is quite clearly an example of an interstate conflict.

Watch also Ukrainians run 65km Hague-Amsterdam marathon for Association Agreement

The suggestion that Ukraine suffers from a civil war is therefore not only factually incorrect, it is also a grave insult to all those people who lost their lives in the past two years.

The remark about "open borders" is dubious to say the least.

Yes, Ukrainians will get visa-free travel. The maximum duration however will be 90 days only. Work visas will still be required and will be processed separately. Therefore the claim of "open borders" is a clear lie.

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