Monday

17th Feb 2020

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 20 years of archives. 14-day 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. Michel proposes GNI 1.074 percent for budget
  2. Five Star Movement to protest against own government
  3. France pushing for tougher EU line on Brexit alignment
  4. Facebook delays EU roll-out of dating app
  5. Coronavirus a 'key risk' in EU's economic forecast
  6. Von dey Leyen defends record at German parliament inquiry
  7. Johnson loses finance and N. Ireland ministers in reshuffle
  8. Eight EU states warned over money-laundering delay

EU to publish new enlargement method

EU hopefuls will know more about the hoops they will have to jump through in future when the European Commission publishes its new "enlargement methodology" this week.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. The last best chance for Donbas and peace in Europe?
  2. EU commissioner lobbied by energy firm he owns shares in
  3. Will coronavirus lead to medicine shortage in EU?
  4. EU transparency on lobbyist meetings still piecemeal
  5. 'Westlessness' - Western restlessness at China's ascent
  6. Central Europe mayors join in direct EU funds plea
  7. What you don't hear about Spain's migration policy
  8. 'Top-down' future of Europe conference 'will fail' warning

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us