Dutch Reject EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in ReferendumEU | April 7, 2016, Thursday // 16:48| views
Officials count the votes of the Dutch referendum about the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine, 6 April 2016. Photo EPA/BGNES
The Netherlands has rejected the ratification of Ukraine’s association agreement with EU in a referendum, marking a victory for eurosceptics.
The referendum was called after a group of Dutch eurosceptics collected more than 400,000 signatures on a petition calling for a public vote to take place.
The Dutch citizens were asked to answer on Wednesday whether they were for or against the ratification of the association agreement between Ukraine and the EU.
The Dutch opposed the ratification by some 62% to 38%. Turnoutwas around 32%, barely above the 30% required for the results of the vote to be valid.
The outcome means that the Dutch government will have to reconsider its support for the agreement, although the referendum is not binding. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has already already signalled that his country can no longer ratify the treaty in its current form.
The BBC noted in its coverage of the news that the impact of the Dutch referendum on the Ukraine-EU deal “is not yet clear”.
European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas has told reporters on Thursday that the Dutch vote won’t affect the temporary implementation of the EU-Ukraine which had been approved by all 28 member-states.
The victory for Dutch eurosceptics came less than three months before the UK holds its own referendum whether to exit the EU.