Thursday, April 7, 2016

Why do so many Dutch people vote against further cooperation with Ukraine?

The Ukraina–European Union Association Agreement is a treaty between the European Union (EU), Euratom, their 28 Member States and Ukraine that establishes a political and economic association between the parties.

The Act on the Consultative Referendum requires a turnout threshold of 30% . If this is not achieved, the referendum is not valid. If the turnout threshold is reached and a majority votes against the Netherlands-Ukraine Cooperation Treaty the Dutch Legislator should enact a law to counteract the treaty or retract the law that was accepted to enact the treaty. The threshold has been reached and a majority of 61% voted "Tegen".(against)

The Dutch Prime Minister, Mr. Rutte has already stated that he will "wait and see" and might be willing to break the Dutch Law on Referendums so the Cooperation Treaty can be accepted by the whole of Europe.

But the reason for this referendum is not an opposition against Ukraine. There are several other motives for voting. Many people in The Netherlands believe that the EU is becoming too powerful and does not take the opinion of inhabitants of the individual countries, that make up the EU, into account. The referendum may be seen as a vote of no confidence for the EU.

The Civil EU Committee, (Het Burgercomité-EU), is one of the initiators of the referendum and strongly opposes the association treaty. The reason for the oposition to the treaty is the power of the EU.

Member of the Dutch Parliament for the SP, the Socialist Party, Jasper van Dijk has a very different reason to oppose the treaty. Article 89 sub 2 of the association treaty holds a line that makes possible the implementation of investment protection measures, ISDS. The SP wants this line emitted from the treaty.

The think tank Forum for Democracy, led by publicist and lawyer Thierry Baudet, is against the treaty for a different reason. According to him the treaty is evidence for the imperialistic nature of the EU.

The party of the prime minister, VVD, part of a coalition that currently governs the country, is against the use of the referendum as a political instrument. The other member of the coalition, the more or less socialist Workers Party (PvdA) will not engage in many activities to promote its opinion, they are for a yes-vote as well as the former coalition partner, the Christian CDA.

Sadly for Ukraina, the Dutch nation also has politicians who do not seem to take their responsibilities very seriously. The present government has seen a very bumpy history, with ministers failing to fully inform the parliament about its activities, the Minister of Security and Justice topping it off recently.

On the 17 of December 2015 it came to light that Van der Steur had purposely redacted most of the content of a report detailing the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 investigation, on false basis to cover up his own incompetence during the investigation.

After not reporting the amount of money that was paid by the minister to a notorious criminal, the so called Teeven-deal, he claimed the receipt was lost, we have seen blunders in the crisis surrounding the bombings in Brussels, Belgium and more recently a 'working group' to look at the relationship between Turkey en The Netherlands concerning the refugees entering Europe via Turkey has not worked at all, in fact it never even had a meeting.

Cooperation with Ankara on fighting the international terror groups is crucial. Many Dutch Jihad fighters travel via that country and one of the terrorists involved, and killed, in the Brussels bombing was extradited by Turkey to Schiphol Airport before the act. The Dutch Minister of Security and Justice did not know that. The Minister also missed a beat when asked who had provided that information, assuming it had been the FBI, when in fact it was the New York Police Department.

The minister, Ard van der Steur who is responsible for the security of all the Dutch people has not really performed very well, to say the least. But he has not been fired, nor has he resigned.
For many of the voters this referendum is a way to show the government that, with all the mistakes, together with the attitude of the prime minister, always proudly smiling and on the foreground in photographs, maybe it is enough. Maybe it is time to go!

sources: Wikipedia, The Abduction of Europe, detail