It is basically a protest referendum, which was initiated by the European skeptics from the left and right. They were able to mobilize their electorate. In any case the image of Ukraine in Europe has undergone some changes.
On Wednesday, April 6, the Netherlands held a referendum on the ratification of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine. 61.1% of voters were against the ratification, for - 38.1%, with overall turnout of 32.2%. The voting results for www.valdaiclub.com were commented by Lyudmila Babynina, Head of the Center for Political Integration Studies, RAS Institute of Europe.
Babynina believes that the Dutch government can not ignore the results of the referendum, despite the fact that it is advisory in nature. However, the views expressed by the Dutch voters will not affect the common position of the EU. "I think a compromise option could be found with no cancellation of the Association Agreement with the EU" she said in a telephone interview.
Today, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has already said that his country would not be able to continue the process of ratification of the Agreement. "Now we will begin consultations with the Government. Later we will continue to negotiate with the Parliament and our European partners. It takes time. And it requires more weeks than few days, " he said.
According to Babynina, there are two reasons for such an outcome of the referendum. "The first is related to the fact that it is basically a protest referendum, which was initiated by the European skeptics from the left and right. They were able to mobilize their electorate. That is, it was a referendum against the policy of Brussels ", said Babynina.
"Secondly, the image of Ukraine in Europe recently has undergone some changes. And those steps taken by the government Poroshenko regarding fight against corruption, economic reforms, the scandals that are shaking the Ukrainian Rada, undermine the image of Ukraine. Lack of decisions on Donbass, foot dragging of the Minsk process do not create a good impression of Ukraine as a state, "she said.
Despite the fact that the Association Agreement does not mean membership prospects for Ukraine in the EU, the Ukrainian authorities have presented it to voters as the first step on the way to the country's integration with the European Union. A week before the referendum, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte said that the country had a negative attitude toward the prospect of Ukraine's accession to the EU. Previously about the inability of Ukraine to join the EU and NATO in the next 20-25 years spoke the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.