: NYT: Netherlands to hold referendum on EU-Ukraine deal

17:34 Apr. 3, 2016

NYT: Netherlands to hold referendum on EU-Ukraine deal

External view of the building of the European Union EU on September 10, 2010 in Brussels, Belgium (Getty Images)

The referendum is seen by many as an opportunity to protest the EU's expansion 

Dutch voters are going to the polls on Wednesday, April 6, — but the topic is Ukraine, not their own country.

When Ukrainians rose up against their government in February 2014, the trigger for their anger was then-President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign an agreement fostering closer links between his country and the 28-nation European Union.

Read also #DUTCHINUA: Dutch PM believes Ukraine-EU Association may win majority in referendum

After Yanukovych was toppled, his replacement, Petro Poroshenko, signed the Association Agreement with the EU, a broad free trade deal that — supporters say — also seeks to tackle corruption and improve human rights in the troubled former Soviet republic.

Now, long-simmering anti-EU sentiment in the Netherlands threatens the deal, much of which is already in force. In a non-binding "advisory referendum" on Wednesday, the Dutch can vote for or against Dutch ratification of the deal with Ukraine.

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

While the Ukraine agreement is nominally the target, the referendum is seen by many as an opportunity to protest the EU's expansion and what they consider its undemocratic decision-making processes. Full story 


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