When the Netherlands introduced a new referendum law in July 2015, few expected it could one day play into the hands of the Kremlin. Or that it would be used to force a national vote on the more than 320-page-long European association agreement with Ukraine. Yet less than a year later, on April 6, the Dutch will have to answer with a Yes or No the question of whether they favor the bloc’s association deal with Kiev. Recent opinion polls suggest it will be a neck-and-neck race between the two sides. Although the vote is advisory and has no direct influence on EU policy, it has caused a scare in The Hague and Brussels. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has warned that a Dutch No vote will “open the door to a big continental crisis” with only one winner. “Russia would pluck the fruits of an easy victory,” he told the Dutch NRC newspaper. The dull language of the long text of the association agreement belies its explosive potential. For years, it has been the source of a tug-of-war with Moscow as Kiev tried to move out of its former Soviet ruler’s orbit into the arms of the EU.Full Article: Russian Bear Looms Over Dutch Voting Booth | News | The Moscow Times.
Mar 31 2016