Posts tagged "Ukraine"

Dutch voters say ‘No’ to Ukraine deal

The Dutch government will not automatically ratify the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte made the announcement after initial exit polls indicated that a large majority of voters had opposed ratification in an advisory referendum on Wednesday 6 April.

Although the consultative referendum is non-binding, the Prime Minister and the leaders of all political parties have made it clear that the strong ‘No’ vote has consequences. What those consequences are in practice will be clarified over the coming weeks.

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The other referendum

It could not come at a worse time for the Dutch government.

On 6 April, right in the middle of the Netherlands’ Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the country will hold a referendum on ratification of the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine. And it is causing headaches for Dutch political leaders.

The main reason is that this is not really a vote about economic and political relations with Ukraine. It’s about Europe.

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A trio of troubles in Tusk’s in-tray

??????????????????????????????????The final piece of Europe’s jigsaw is almost in place.

On Monday, Donald Tusk (pictured above) – elected by the national leaders at the end of August, becomes President of the European Council. But what faces the former Polish prime minister when he arrives in his new office on Monday?

Herman Van Rompuy – Tusk’s predecessor in the role – identified three key issues when the new President was unveiled in the summer. None of the these three issues has become simpler in the last three months.

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China tries to decipher the European elections tea leaves

David Fouquet, senior consultant at the European Institute of Asian Studies (EIAS), looks at the Chinese perspective on the European elections:

The European public outside the Brussels bubble gives every indication of being apathetic or unconvinced of the importance of the forthcoming European Parliament elections and their impact on the other European Union institutions.

So it seems somewhat incongruous that informed representatives from the other side of the world express interest, curiosity and even concern about the same developments.

Although not by any means a systematic survey, a personal sampling from repeated encounters with academics, journalists, diplomats and others from as far away as China indicates that these elections and transition have global impact, even if those Europeans immediately concerned seem indifferent.

This engagement with the European elections may reflect just polite small talk or circumstantial interest from a tiny elite and not the sentiment of the average person in Beijing to Kunming, but it does highlight the contemporary relations between Europe and China, and undoubtedly other major Asia or global partners of the EU.

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