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Ahead of the Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, Open Europe's Pieter Cleppe summarises the key arguments on both sides and explains what is at stake.
5 April 2016
Tomorrow, Dutch voters head to the polls to deliver their verdict on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. In an earlier blog, I explained how this referendum came about; essentially, the EU-Ukraine agreement has fallen victim to bad timing – the whole exercise is really about sending a message to the establishment. Some opponents of the agreement, such as the prominent campaigner and academic Thierry Baudet have admitted as much, saying that “everything which is wrong with the EU is wrong with this Treaty.”
Notwithstanding this broader context, below I summarise the main arguments of the opponents of the agreement and the responses of its have proponents:
“This Treaty, which is driven by the EU’s lust for ever more control, is not a trade deal but intended as a prelude to EU membership for Ukraine.”
To back up this claim, opponents cite top EU figures suggesting Ukrainian EU membership may be an option one day, such as former European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and former EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
To counter this, proponents have pointed out that the actual text of the Treaty does not mention membership and that Ukraine’s EU membership is a question for the long-term. According to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, many other countries including Latin American states, have similar association agreements with the EU. It also was revealed that during the negotiations, the Dutch government helped to block an attempt by supporters of Ukraine’s EU membership to explicitly reference this in the agreement.
My take: The truth is somewhere in the middle; the agreement strengthens and extends Ukraine’s ties to the EU but it is not a pre-accession agreement such as the “Stabilisation and Association Agreements” with Western Balkan countries, which are explicitly mentioned as “potential candidates for EU membership”. Neither does it exclude the possibility that Ukraine could join the EU one day, although there are many practical obstacles on its path.
“Ukraine’s economy is small, smaller than the Dutch province of North Holland, it is shrinking, due to corruption and war and only 0.2% of Dutch exports go to Ukraine. That’s a small fraction of Dutch exports to Russia”
One of the “Yes” campaigners, the former MEP Michiel Van Hulten, has argued that Russia’s stance on the agreement should not be the deciding factor, arguing that: “I think it’s important that we make it clear to [Russian leader] Mr. Putin that this is none of his business”.
Either way the benefits are material according to Dutch government and EU Commission estimates: Ukraine may be a small trading partner for the EU, accounting for only 0.3% of EU exports, but 38% of Ukrainian exports go to the EU, which would save Ukraine €487m annually, €383m on exports of agricultural products alone. The EU would save €391m on duties on imports into Ukraine: import duties on vehicles would be €117.3m lower, for example. Overall, Ukraine and the EU will eliminate respectively 99.1% and 98.1% of duties on their bilateral trade.
My take: It’s bold to claim that the conflict in Ukraine and ensuing sanctions against Russia would not have occurred in the absence of any EU-Ukraine Treaty. The latter was only one of many factors. So to claim that there is a trade-off between Russia or Ukraine is too simplistic.
“The Treaty has been the cause of a civil war in Ukraine”
It’s a fact that the Treaty has played a role in triggering the annexation of Crimea and the ongoing (now mostly frozen) conflict in Eastern Ukraine. As we argued at the time, the EU failed to anticipate that Russia’s unhappiness at the EU and Ukraine growing closer together would prompt such a drastic response.
“Yes” campaigners have argued that instead of weakening Ukraine’s sovereignty, the deal would protect the country in the face of Russia. Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders stated the deal “is a step towards stabilising our neighbouring country of Ukraine”. Opponents have been accused of being “Putin’s useful idiots”, with the leader of the Dutch populist PVV party, Geert Wilders, firmly in the “no” camp, depicted kissing President Putin. Given the fact that two thirds of the 298 people on board of the airliner which was shot in Ukraine in 2014 were Dutch, this is a particularly sensitive charge.
This campaign poster by @jspvda depicting Putin and Wilders was banned for being “too provocative”. #stemvoor pic.twitter.com/inUsa1PFgE
— Michiel van Hulten (@mvanhulten) March 21, 2016
This campaign poster by @jspvda depicting Putin and Wilders was banned for being “too provocative”. #stemvoor pic.twitter.com/inUsa1PFgE
— Michiel van Hulten (@mvanhulten) March 21, 2016
My take: There are many factors which triggered the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. On the other hand, we know from experience that Treaties opening up trade and attempting to improve the rule of law in neighbouring countries aren’t game changers of themselves. This is a process which will take time and patience.
“The Treaty is bad for Ukraine itself, which will have to take over 80% of EU rules without having any influence over them.”
In attempting to open up trade, the EU doesn’t only rely on mutual removal or even unilateral removal of trade barriers, but also on bureaucratic harmonisation of norms. Given experience at the EU level, it can be doubted how much Ukraine will be able to implement, for example with regards to EU poultry regulations, which bothers both Dutch poultry farmers and animal rights activists.
My take: Given Ukraine’s problems with adhering to the rule of law it does the beg the question of whether it will be able to implement and abide by the agreement. That said, most Ukrainian politicians and much of the public sees the AA as a means to modernise the country politically and economically in line with Western norms.
“The Association Treaty gives Ukraine the right to EU funding… We already pumped €30bn into Ukraine through the EU and the IMF. Enough is enough.”
Opponents of the deal have stated that providing even more cash to a bankrupt state which is suffering from very high levels of corruption may only worsen the situation. They have depicted President Poroshenko as a dodgy oligarch, disclosing he stored €700m in the Netherlands while highlighting how he has been mentioned in the so-called “Panama Papers” list of off-shore bank account holders. The latter was called a “disaster” for the “Yes”-campaign by Dutch public media journalist Kees Boonman.
Proponents of the deal have countered this by saying that the funding is conditional on Ukraine improving its rule of law and fighting corruption.
My take: Allowing Ukrainian businesses to flourish due to removing barriers to trade is the best way to boost a middle class not dependent on crony government-controlled business. To flush a government system already very vulnerable to corruption with even more money, apart from the €100m the EU already gives to Ukraine every year, could pose problems of ensuring the money is spent properly.
“The Treaty gives Ukraine, a country in civil war, the right to military assistance and support, despite the fact no Dutch interests are at stake”.
Opponents have cited how the deal commits to “increasing the participation of Ukraine in EU-led civilian and military crisis management operations” and aims to “explore the potential of military-technological cooperation”, which they think may lead to reorienting Ukrainian military purchases and sharing of military information.
Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders has argued that this is all needed because “we have reached the point where Dutch security and prosperity are being put under pressure due to developments beyond our borders”.
My take: The agreement does mention it aims to “promote gradual convergence in the area of foreign and security policy”, and it really is anyone’s guess what that would actually mean in practice. Given that there is insufficient popular support for helping to defend Ukraine militarily, it would be wise not to use the Treaty as a back-door for NATO-accession.
“The Association Treaty enables visa free travel for Ukrainians, so also for criminals”
Although Dutch Foreign Minister Bert has insisted visa free travel is being negotiated irrespective of the Association Treaty, it is nonetheless mentioned in it, and this issue has featured prominently in the campaign. The idea is to provide visa free travel for Ukrainians if the Ukrainian government undertakes a number of reforms, for example publishing data on top officials and politicians’ income. Ukraine was criticised by the EU for being slow here, and still needs to complete a number of required reforms.
Nevertheless, the EU Commission has already stated that it will “make a proposal for visa liberalisation in April.” The Dutch referendum takes place on 6 April, so this was obviously seized upon by the No-campaign.
My take: In any case, both EU member states and the European Parliament still need to give their blessing, which isn’t likely to happen soon, in the current climate, with doubts about Ukraine’s reforms surfacing and visa liberalisation for Turkey being opposed by France and most other countries (the UK is unaffected by this, given that it’s not a member of the Schengen zone).
Almost all opinion polls point towards a victory for the No-camp. A Direct Research poll, commissioned by D66, which favours the deal, was most optimistic for Yes, polling it at 35% versus 36% for No. Prominent pollster Maurice de Hond estimates 60% will vote against and only 40% in favour, while the most recent TNS poll puts the No-camp ahead with 54%, Yes at 36% while 10% are undecided.
A crucial question is whether turnout will reach 30%, which is the necessary threshold for the result to be confirmed as “official”. The No-campaign has accused the government of providing insufficient voting facilities in order to secure this. According to a new poll, 32% of voters intend to go out to vote, but this figure was only 24% a few weeks ago. A failure to reach 30% would give the Dutch government an excuse to ignore a negative result.
Given the referendum is non-binding, it would be down to politicians how to respond. This question has divided the governing coalition with Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s liberal/centre-right VVD party declaring that “our stance won’t change” regardless of the outcome, but the centre-left PvdA has said it will respect the outcome if the 30% turnout threshold is met.
Certainly, the Dutch government would have a big crisis on its hands, in the middle of its EU Presidency. Geert Wilders’ anti-EU formation Party for Freedom is already firmly leading the polls, gathering more votes than the VVD and PvdA combined. Rutte also said that if the Dutch parliament decides not to ratify the agreement – a big question mark right now – this would, according to him, be the “end of the exercise”, meaning that the EU would need to renegotiate or give up the association deal with Ukraine.
That said, the trade chapters of the EU-Ukraine deal have already entered into force provisionally at the start of the year, and officials have told the Financial Times that a No-vote would leave it in force – full unanimity in the Council is needed to end provisional application. Therefore, the agreement could be stuck in limbo pending a more sustainable solution. One option would be for the Netherlands could do the dirty work for other member states and block visa free travel for Ukrainians as a condition of ratifying the Treaty and appeasing Dutch public opinion.
A No vote would also have wider consequences – European Commission President Juncker has warned that it could spark a “continental crisis”, former Europan Council President Herman Van Rompuy said it would be a “disgrace for the Netherlands” while former EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, a Belgian, stated in his own very straight talking style: “I hope Rutte ignores the result of the referendum”. As much as these statements may do more to boost the No side than anything else, they make clear the international policy establishment isn’t looking forward to dealing with yet another thorny issue EU issue. A clear “No” vote would also embolden the Leave camp ahead of the UK referendum.
This all illustrates that popular dissatisfaction with “EU overreach” can lead to “collateral damage” to what should be the EU’s core business: trade. The EU has failed to properly address its many internal problems including its crisis of accountability and democratic legitimacy, prompting campaigners to take the EU-Ukraine deal hostage. Let’s just hope that TTIP, the trade deal which is being negotiated between the EU and the US, doesn’t become the next victim of the electorate’s need to send a signal it wants more control over its own fate.
How about some new articles on this blog?
Expansion isn't that going on for thousands of years, and at what cost?
@pietercleppe Incorrect. Russian propaganda has been visible everywhere. From Kornilov etc.assigned to the NL to Spamming NL Hop on Youtube
John Redwood has a good article on this today:
"Mr Juncker, the President of the Commission, made clear in an interview just before the Netherlands referendum on the EU/Ukraine Association Agreement that a vote against the EU plan would “open the doors to a continental crisis”. As I presume he is an honest man who knows his EU, I await his measures to deal with this crisis that he has helped create."
Personally I'd also like Cameron to say what he will do to deal with the crisis he is predicting after we have voted to leave the EU.
At present it all seems to be on the lines of doing nothing - "The French will swamp south east England with illegal immigrants, and I will do nothing to prevent that happening" - or even threatening to make sure that it is as bad as possible - "When the EU stops paying its subsidies to our farmers I will make sure that they are all bankrupted and you starve".
One might ask, "Whose side is he on?", but many of us already know the answer to that.
Leap into the light ! BE LEAVE!
Why TTIP? Because the big companies and multinationals, you know, the ones who do not pay their taxes, the ones that pay the 6000 lobbyists in Brussels, the ones who can afford big banquets, the ones who only employ 10% of the population, want TTIP. Why? So they can export our jobs to parts of the world not encumbered with EU regulation. Why does Brussels want it? Lobbyists and Banquets, see above. Why does nobody know anything about it? Because the EU likes to keep everyone in the dark. So we should have a referendum on it, too; and we should be told the facts; not the 'facts' as intended by the Bovine Spongifor BSE crowd but the true facts.
@Rollo_ And yet on the government's own figures TTIP would be of little economic significance, worth about 0.6% of GDP - which is about the same as the natural growth of the UK economy during just one average quarter.
A referendum for TTIP seems to be on the way. Apparently already 75K signatures have been collected.
@RikHI confess to having not really studied the
impact of TTIP; something I'm starting to believe that all Britons need to
do. However the blindingly obvious omission
appears to be that if we, the UK electorate don't like it, how do we get rid of
British people vote for a party that mandates to repeal or withdraw from TTIP. So within five years, probably a lot less.
people vote for a party that mandates to repeal or withdraw from TTIP. The newly elected PM then has to go to the European
Council and try and convince 27 (or more) separate member states to agree to
the UK proposal. Each one for the >27
member states has its own pound of flesh that they want UK to agree to, before
they would support the UK proposal. On
the faintest of chances that all 28 members agree, then the European Commission
would then have to agree. So within
thirty years, probably never.
@David Horton Difficult to study the impact of something that you're not even allowed to study, and that allegedly even MEPs can only study in a special room where the documents are kept under lock and key ...
@David Horton TTIP will almost certainly be similar to a FTA beween UK (after exit) and the US. And the UK will need FTAs (and a lot of them).
Within the EU trade issues are basically dealt with by the EU (because of earlier transfers of powers btw). But because other issues (than trade) are also included approval at national level is likely required as well, but for that part. Trade goes therefor by qualified majority.
FTA most of the time deal with same standards (being able to use each others). Which is a problem because of eg the chlorine chickens and GM foodstuff. On the other hand Europe could possibly put Diesel cars on the US market (basically also a measure to protect European (Big) industry. Easily to be solved by granting the hysteric groups the protection that this stuff should be properly labelled. If people in the US apperently donot die from eg these chickens, they might not be great for your health, but really dangerous they are not. Another one is about conflict solution (independent one), which makes eg Mediation institutes the competent courts. Nothing unreasonable imho it works the other around as well and is a 'fair demand' from both sides.
The discussion has however been hijacked by the Organic Soy Bean Brigade and the Trump/Sanders Supporters. Basically a FTA should assure that (overall) trade will balance long term. However in the US to a lesser extent the UK trade balance are structurally negative (and substantial). Which means that next to the FTA overall still measures are in place the clearly benefit the other (not US/UK) side (mainly Exchange rates that are too low, but also too slowly rising wages in the 3rd world). This is imho a much more relevant point than the stuff we are now discussing. As this concerns jobs. A treaty with the US is hardly a real danger (both are high wage countries/unions). Treaties with anything EM or 3rd world are much more dangerous in that respect.
However the EU let the discussion into the public domain (as nobody trust the EU anymore) and now will have to deal with all sort of noisy groups that donot have a clue (even less than the EU itself) as well as included provisions that make approval at national level necessary (like with the Ukraine) .
Incidentally, while the Dutch government was pushed into holding a referendum on this treaty the UK government managed to get it approved in UK law without even an Act of Parliament, let alone a referendum, just a Statutory Instrument slipped through on March 19th 2015:
"European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Association Agreement) (Ukraine) Order 2015. "
In fact even if it had been a treaty for Ukraine to join the EU, which is intended to be the final step in this stealthy process of association and integration, that would only need an Act, that slippery character Hague having carefully put a blanket exemption for all accession treaties into his so-callled "referendum lock" law, the European Union Act 2011.
Cameron has made it clear what the UK government wants, and that is for the EU to stretch from the Atlantic to the Urals:
Echoing Charles de Gaulle from over half a century ago:
And as far as Cameron and his allies are concerned nothing and nobody will be allowed to interfere with that ambition.
@Denis_Cooper The UK has a completely different system from nearly all Continental countries. When you have a Basic Law/Constitution usually that deals with the rules how to approve treaties. The UK doesnot have such rules. But usually treaty approval requires that at least the same formalities have to be fulfilled as laws (so an act of Parliament). But fully agree that this looks weird. Decisions that are much more important and farreaching than normal Laws can be decided upon by the Government alone.
Could work as a sort of protection (as with Germany, where EU should meet requirements written down in the Basic law.
@RikH @Denis_Cooper It was approved by Parliament, but only by secondary legislation nodded through both chambers, almost certainly without a vote in either. If enough members had strongly objected then they could have forced a debate and a vote, but most of them are all in favour of EU enlargement whether or not their constituents agree.
@Denis_Cooper @RikH Not voting means for me either not deeming it important enough for a formal law (one approved by voting of the complete parliament (and not a commitee or so)) or political trickery (to get it passed)). As a large majority was probably for anyway, it looks a bit weird to me. Simply looks important enough (and more than that) to have to approve by formal law.
Anyway the problem you describe can only fully be solved by a referendum (binding one). Shorter terms say one year might solve it partly. Short term is hardly a guarantee for quality however. Just look at the US (both parties come up with a bunch of rubbish to bad to describe with words,.
Probably the underlying reason is that traditional political parties have not moved with considerably changing political views of the electorate.
Probably only 50-60% of the electorate is now effectively represented by traditional parties. With another problem in having basically all having moved to the centre. The rest are up for graps.
@RikH @Denis_Cooper Often several SI's are presented just before the end of the day's sitting. Many are uncontentious, and so nobody wants to debate or force a division on any of them, and it is just quickly agreed to pass them without a vote. Unfortunately this can also provide the government with opportunities to slip through some measures, laws, which should be considered more carefully. I haven't looked to see exactly what happened with this SI.
@pietercleppe @trias_politica ...Juncker bluffs his way through life...i fear for his sanity.
@pietercleppe @OpenEurope EC and Brusels are ready for some heavy reforms and some new management.
@pietercleppe @Sheanderthal That's because the EU isn't interested in democracy
@pietercleppe @OpenEurope It proves one thing the sheer contempt of #Brusselscleaders 4democratic voting. They wld prefer only #elitesdecide
EU democracy and respect for its citizenry for all to see..!
"That said, the trade chapters of the EU-Ukraine deal have already entered into force provisionally at the start of the year, and officials have told the Financial Times that a No-vote would leave it in force – full unanimity in the Council is needed to end provisional application."
The universal principle is that the sovereign parties to a treaty can agree to include any provisions that they like, so if the Dutch government actually agreed to this then that is how it will be and it just demonstrates that with the Netherlands as a member state of the EU the Dutch government is content to treat the Dutch voters with the same contempt that the British government treats the British voters.
However I read in Article 218 TFEU:
"5. The Council, on a proposal by the negotiator, shall adopt a decision authorising the signing of the agreement and, if necessary, its provisional application before entry into force.",
"8. The Council shall act by a qualified majority throughout the procedure"
so it is at least possible that the Dutch government objected to this extraordinary way of proceeding but was over-ruled.
Either way, it is an extraordinary way of proceeding: the normal approach being that described in Article 25 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties:
"1. A treaty or a part of a treaty is applied provisionally pending its entry into
(a) The treaty itself so provides; or
(b) The negotiating States have in some other manner so agreed.
2. Unless the treaty otherwise provides or the negotiating States have otherwise agreed, the provisional application of a treaty or a part of a treaty with respect
to a State shall be terminated if that State notifies the other States between which the
treaty is being applied provisionally of its intention not to become a party to the treaty."
In other words, under that rule the Dutch government would not need to get the agreement of all the other EU member states before it could decide that the Netherlands was not going to bound by a treaty which had been rejected in a Dutch referendum even if it was already being applied on a provisional basis.
It is an extraordinary way of proceeding, and one which potentially strips the Dutch people of their right to decide whether or not their country will be bound by a treaty; one could ask why a Dutch government would ever agree to that being put into the EU treaties when it had the right to veto its inclusion, but I think we already know the answer to that.
@Denis_Cooper Basically this treaty can be divided into 2 parts. Trade part, where Holland has transferred things to the EU and the rest political and military. For that part the normal approval rules apply (approved by Parliament and open for such a referendum). The main problems people had were in the second part: visa free travel; military cooperation; assistance in many fields (read: transfer of money and a lot for many things; including in the internal market (as in on the way to full memebership).
Basically it, like all EU countries, gave up veto rights for easier decisionmaking. However it ended in decisions with no sustainable platform and rules that simply donot work and can effectively not be changed/abolished. Such a possibility is always there but with the EU it materialised. Btw a good reason not to continue with the EU if you donot like a further tranfer of souvereignty (like most in the UK).. If the Dutch population would have a choice at this moment likely a substantial majority would agree with such a transfer. However they via their government accepted it and now it is nearly impossible to reverse it.
This statement has just come from the EU Commission:
"We regret to announce that due to problems with the Dutch democratic system there will be a delay in the plan to get the EU extending from the Atlantic to the Urals. Please be assured that we are working as hard as we can to resolve these problems as quickly as possible, but a period of reflection may be needed before normal progress can be resumed."
And this is one that will not get away or can be brushed under the table. The EUsceptic camp can simply go (well when they meet the signatory count) for a new referendum if this results in the usual rubbish. And nobody wants to be in a party that ignored the outcome of a referendum 2 times (not close to an election)>
What is at stake? Nothing serious, just the end of the EU charade.
61.1% "No", 38% yes. Well done the Dutch people.
Although Binnenhof may still ignore you; or Brussels will make you vote again. Brussels has form!
An acquaintance of mine in Vlissingen remarked on her blog that the Dutch were 'curious' and 'interested' in the UK referendum. This contrasted with the affronted pique in France, the wary concern in Germany, the fury in Brussels and puzzlement in Central European states.
I mentioned that another couples of contrasts could include the hope for fundamental change in Denmark and the envy of Ireland that UK is big enough to not get bullied by Brussels or Berlin.
The point to me, and I hesitate to lapse into un-evidenced opinion here, is that the days when Paris, Berlin and Brussels can steamroller their self-protectionist policies onto less-than-enthusiastic smaller members, is probably over. Even if UK votes to remain a member, Brussels must not see this as a victory, and should work harder to include the wants & needs of the electorate in all member states.
For me, if UK votes to remain, I hope that Raoul's prediction of a second Brexit vote within five years is realised, and that it happens before the next Treaty change, rather than as a consequence of it.
@pietercleppe @OpenEurope 33.1 at the moment but a lot of rural areas not counted yet?
I fear Mr Bildt is slightly out of touch. Sweden voted against joining the euro.
@pietercleppe Note he doesn't bring up past 10 year results and turn out from the European elections
@pietercleppe Why do we the Dutch pay most per capita for the EU?
@pietercleppe @OpenEurope Hits the nail on the head. EU shd be about trade deals without the frippery! #brexit pic.twitter.com/OztLZNwaWH
.@pietercleppe 3% error margin regarding the 30% estimate so can be between 27 and 32%... nos.nl/artikel/209754… … 5% error margin re 64%
.@pietercleppe 3% error margin regarding the 30% estimate so can be between 27 or 33%... nos.nl/artikel/209754… 5% error margin re 64%
@pietercleppe Let's hope it will be more than 30 %. But almost 2 out of 3 voters opposes this #Ukraine #EU treaty! Please respect that!
This is for the Dutch to decide but as an outsider observer I will be very pleased if they reject the treaty, which despite all the deceitful protestations to the contrary is intended to pave the way for Ukraine to join the EU, of course it is. These people have no scruples and no integrity, they lie and lie and lie, they lie through their teeth in the same way that the traitor Heath lied through his teeth to the British people and Cameron is lying through his teeth now.
@pietercleppe @Kasparov63 And their own political class. Ignoring the 2005 referendum *ought* to have consequences.
You can bet your bottom dollar that TTIP will be a next one. If it already get passed the US hurdle (basically it won't as all 4 major candidates are from completely against it Trump, via Cruz and Sanders to want major change Hillary (in order to make it through the primaries).
The EU has the Catch 22. Either renegs on the UK-EU deal or potentially run into a very dangerous position in Holland. Basically either lose one of them (with a much higher chance for the UKs option of course, but the Dutch could tear the EU apart, even more than the UK). Roughly 20% of the electorate usually get urinated when these sort of things get ignored by the powers that be. That is 20% on top of ones that already went for alternatives (which are North of 40% now in Holland). With as extra problem the next election is max 1 year away plus the voterbase that has remained for the Government's parties is in majority against the treaty (VVD) or a huge minority is (Dutch Labour). Catch 22 as said.
@PClegge You simply miss that it is for a big part (probably largely even) an emotional vote. You basically only come with logical stuff. In the US they start with if people are angry, dissatiesfied etc uptil happy. The Angry people basically go unrational. Well better they want to get rid of the culprits in the first place (which is hardly unrational as most of the time it are serial offenders/liars). With you in Europe you simply (as one not specifically yourself), simply misses this issue completely. If Juncker could run in Dutch elections and would take over Wilders programm, he hardly would get a vote from Wilders standard voters. They go for the real thing and he has no credibility left with them. He might however be successful with the doubters still left in the pro-EU camp (voterwise). Well summarized as there are no other options for Dutch Voters this has become a largely emotional referendum on related issues (decline of its present parliamentary system and the position of the EU in general).
@carlbildt @CER_Grant Most citizens don't like supranational model. The assault on nation-state democracy has to stop. Time to leave for EEA
@pietercleppe It's quite simple : the Dutch government must show stronger than a referendum organized & supported by the Kremlin - Putin.
@pietercleppe please, check your email, it's very urgent