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Dutch ‘NO’ in referendum shakes up EU
While world has been preparing for probably the biggest ever referendum since the creation of European Union, scheduled on June 23rd, when Britons vote whether to stay in the bloc or not, another referendum within EU has taken place in Netherlands.
"Are you for or against the Approval Act of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine?"
This basically translates do you approve trade deal between European Union and Ukraine.
And the Dutch overwhelmingly voted ‘NO/AGAINST’.
The decision to hold a referendum was made after more than 427,000 valid requests were received within six weeks, more than the required number of 300,000 requests. 30% was set as the bar for voter turnout.
And despite rains, cold and bad weather that 30% mark got breached, which will force the politicians to abide by it. 61% of the Dutch voted against while 39% were in favor.
The referendum is not binding, however all the major political parties have agreed to abide by it anyway and now an overwhelming rejection binds them more.
Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko’s name coming in Panama Papers leak might also have contributed to the result.
The referendum exposed that lot many people in Europe may consider EU and Ukraine as best of partners.
While EU skeptics are cheering the day much isn’t likely to change through this referendum. Most of the trade pacts agreed with Ukraine are already in force and all 28 members will have to vote against to rip it apart, which is definitely an unlikely happening.
Back in 2005, Dutch also rejected a change in constitution through referendum, however politicians got their treaty change anyway, showing the fragility of real democracy.
Once again expect the democracy to get defeated and leaders to ratify the EU-Ukraine deal anyway.