Monday

15th Oct 2018

Dutch will vote on EU-Ukraine treaty

  • The next potential referendum could target Canada and US trade agreements (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

The Netherlands will hold a referendum on the EU-Ukraine association agreement, the Dutch electoral council confirmed on Wednesday (14 October).

It said it had verified the validity of the signatures collected by a citizens' petition.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

It received 472,849 requests for the referendum. Base on a sample, it determined that 90.6 percent, or 427,939 of the requests, are valid.

“With this, the legal threshold [of 300,000 required signatures] has been passed amply, so a referendum will take place”, council president, Henk Kummeling, told a public hearing.

He called it a “special day” and a “historic moment”.

The event will mark the first time the country holds a citizen-enforced referendum.

The vote was made possible by a new law, in force from 1 July, which allows Dutch people to call for a consultative referendum on recently adopted laws.

They must mail in their signatures on paper. But organisers created an app which automatically printed letters.

The EU-Ukraine association agreement, a trade and political treaty, was signed last year.

The Dutch Senate approved it on 7 July, making it the first EU-related piece of legislation to qualify for a referendum demand.

Parts of the EU-Ukraine accord are already in force on the basis of a “provisional application” clause. The free-trade part is to be fully implemeted from 1 January.

The referendum must take place within six months, but the day is yet to be decided.

It’s unclear what would happen in the event of a No.

The referendum is consultative, which means the government can, legally, ignore the results.

But an overwhelming No vote in a 2005 referendum on the EU's Constitutional Treaty - which was also consultative - made a big impact in The Netherlands and beyond.

If the Ukraine referendum is held in the first half of 2016, when The Hague chairs the rotating EU presidency, a No would, at the least, be embarassing.

European Commission spokesperson Maja Kocijancic told this website the commission doesn’t comment on national ratification procedures.

Meanwhile, another Dutch citizens' initiative has started calling for a referendum on trade treaties with Canada and the US.

But any potential vote is still far away, because the treaties must first be finalised.

Dutch expected to vote on EU-Ukraine treaty

The Dutch electorate is expected to be given the chance to vote on an EU-Ukraine treaty in a referendum, in what would be the first citizen-enforced plebiscite in the country's history.

News in Brief

  1. Le Pen warms towards cooperation with Bannon
  2. Bettel set to stay in power in Luxembourg after election
  3. EU-UK Brexit deal talks paused
  4. Macedonian parliament to vote on name change Monday
  5. Swedish opposition leader gives up on forming government
  6. Commission confirms: no record of Juncker speech seminar
  7. Ukraine splits from Russian orthodox church
  8. Polish doctor wins landmark pro-life case in Norway

Opinion

EU should brace for a more authoritarian Erdogan

The new blend of religious nationalism will be more anti-West and anti-EU, as Brussels has anything but leverage on Turkey. The first signs of this strong rhetoric are already visible.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Daily reality in Western Sahara - and how EU can protect it
  2. Bavarian election puts Merkel on defensive
  3. It's time for the EU to stand up to transnational corporations
  4. Tug of war between 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' cohesion money
  5. 'Macron vs Orban' is no quick fix for EU democracy
  6. Brexit and sanctions at EU summit This WEEK
  7. EU looks at Morocco and Tunisia to offload migrants
  8. EU urged to seize assets of foreign hackers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us