Voters in the Netherlands have rejected in a referendum an EU Association deal with Ukraine with about the same ratio as the vote to reject the European Constitution in 2005.
Following the 2005 vote the EU carried out a hurried cut-and-paste job and renamed the Constitution the Lisbon Treaty and the Dutch government, like the French, refused to allow a referendum on it.
The latest poll turnout on Ukraine, 32.2%, was above the 30% threshold for the vote to be valid and the deal was rejected by 61.1% of votes.
The trade deal — already rubber-stamped by parliaments across the 28-nation EU — essentially creates a free-trade fire zone with Ukraine and marks another step towards the divided country’s NATO membership.
Ukraine’s refusal to sign an EU association agreement back in 2013 sparked the western-backed coup in Kiev carried out by fascist groups that glorified Ukraine Nazi leader Stephan Bandara who led huge anti-Jewish pograms during the Nazi occupation.
Since the 2013 putsch the Ukraine Communist Party has been banned in areas that the fascists control.
The EU Association treaty would allow European monopolies to grab Ukraine’s crucial energy markets.
German foreign policy group, the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), openly discusses how association agreements must be implemented under “supervision” and calls for “stringent and very painful social adjustment measures.”
To understand what that means look at the strict bailout requirements being inflicted on eurozone inmates Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and other member states.
The poll result creates a headache for the pro-EU Dutch government, as the Dutch parliament approved the EU association agreement with Ukraine last year.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the government may have to reconsider the deal, although the vote is not binding.
“My view is that if the turnout is more than 30%, with such a victory for the ‘No’ camp, ratification cannot go ahead without discussion,” he said. It is also an embarrassment for a Dutch government that currently holds the EU presidency.
Ukrainian President and western-backed oligarch Petro Poroshenko insisted that the Dutch vote would be ignored.
“I am sure that strategically this event is not an obstacle on Ukraine’s path towards Europe,” he said.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker openly threatened Dutch voters before the poll calling them to “watch out!”
He said that he did not “want to threaten citizens,” but added that “they must indeed be made conscious of their responsibilities”.
The vote was widely seen in the Netherlands as a test of public opinion towards the EU itself.
And the vote comes less than three months before British citizens decide whether to leave the EU altogether.