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Ukraine referendum: European Parliament not confident of a ‘yes’

21 January 2016

Ukraine referendum: European Parliament not confident of a ‘yes’

Foto: SP

The European Parliament is set to vote today to approve a resolution on the Association Agreements with Ukraine, Georgia and Moldavia. The motion calls for rapid visa liberalisation and intensification of cooperation between the EU and these countries. The resolution also, however, expresses concern about ‘the context in which the Netherlands’ Ukraine referendum is taking place’ and the hope that ‘the Dutch people will judge the agreement on its advantages, including for the EU and for the Netherlands.’ Commenting on the text, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong said: ‘By the context the EP can only mean the unpopularity of the government of Mark Rutte. Evidently the Prime Minister’s performance this week in Strasbourg has not given the Parliament any confidence that the referendum will result in a “yes”. That’s something which should give him cause for concern.’

The resolution contains still more remarkable paragraphs, as De Jong explains: ´The EP points expressly to the right of all democratic European states to join the European Union, provided they respect human rights. It also makes it clear that Association Agreements are a clear step in the direction of EU membership. Supporters of a “yes” should therefore stop claiming that this has nothing to do with membership of the European Union.’

Finally the EP also wants the EU, as soon as the situation allows, to lead an operation to assist in clearing landmines and assuring free access for humanitarian aid organisations. ‘At first sight this looks purely humanitarian,’ warns De Jong, ‘but it could easily mean that the EU member states will take military action in Ukraine. That’s extremely dangerous.’

The resolution was signed by the centre-right European People’s Party, centre-left Socialists and Democrats, the conservatives, liberals and greens and is therefore certain to be adopted by a large majority. Together with the rest of the United European Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE-NGL) group, the SP will be voting against.

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