SP says no to Association Agreement with Ukraine

14 October 2015

SP says no to Association Agreement with Ukraine

The referendum on the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine is to go ahead. On Wednesday the Electoral Council announced that, on the basis of a random check, it had been shown that the national Citizens’ Initiative, now institutionalised in Dutch law, had achieved the necessary minimum of 300.000 valid signatures. SP Member of Parliament and spokesman on the EU Harry van Bommel says that the referendum is ‘a splendid chance for citizens to express their views on the future of the EU’.

According to Van Bommel the EU must first resolve the crisis at home before launching its great leap forward. ‘There’s still tension around what’s going to happen with Greece and the United Kingdom inside the EU. Meanwhile Europe is struggling with a refugee crisis and poverty and inequality are increasing.’

It’s ten years since the referendum on the European Constitution enabled the Dutch electorate, with a solid ‘no’, to have the treaty containing it thrown out. The rest is history. The constitution came along two years later, albeit in a new guise and with a new name, the Lisbon Treaty. This time it’s unclear just what will happen if the Netherlands fails to ratify the Agreement, something which has never before occurred. Moreover, this referendum isn’t binding, only advisory. All the more reason to give a resounding ‘no’ to the Association Agreement with Ukraine.

  • The Association Agreement has indirectly contributed to the onset of civil war in Ukraine. In signing the Agreement, Ukraine has chosen to attach itself more closely to the EU. That will not benefit the country’s stability and unity.
  • The treaty intensifies the economic and political relations with Ukraine at a moment when the government in Kiev is being held responsible for serious abuses of human rights and for war crimes. Ukraine has moreover still a great deal of homework to do when it comes to democracy, fundamental human rights and the rule of law. An Association Agreement should therefore not be on the agenda.
  • The Agreement would mean still more money would flow into corruption-plagued Ukraine. Billions have already been transferred from the EU to Ukraine, while the chances are considerable that EU money is disappearing into the pockets of corrupt oligarchs.
  • While an Association Agreement does not mean automatic membership of the EU, many existing member states have trod that path before. It’s a fact that in Ukraine the treaty has been expressly presented as a step towards EU membership.

Those are the reasons that the SP will be campaigning intensely against the Association Agreement. Stability in Ukraine and in Europe must not be brought still further into danger.

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