One of the leading voices behind the ‘no’ vote on Ukraine’s accession treaty with the EU has attacked the Dutch government’s handling of the outcome as ‘scandalous’.
‘Prime Minister [Mark] Rutte has done nothing in Brussels to convey the Netherlands’ ‘no’ vote,’ said Jan Roos, who is standing for Parliament next year as leader of the VNL (For the Netherlands) party. ‘Rutte is slightly critical of the EU when he’s in the Netherlands, but in Brussels he meekly toes the line.’
Reports at the weekend indicated that Rutte’s government had been unable to persuade its EU partners to review the agreement in the wake of the non-binding referendum in April. Some 62% of voters who took part chose to reject the treaty and the turnout of 32% was high enough to compel the government to review its ratification.
The government’s official position is that talks are ongoing. ‘The cabinet has always maintained that this is a complex process that takes time,’ a spokesman told NOS at the weekend. But diplomatic sources told the state broadcaster that there had been no serious movement on the issue.
Rutte said during the summer that he would try to ‘do justice’ to the vote, but admitted he was not hopeful of persuading the other 27 European nations to change course. Other issues such as Brexit were dominating the agenda, he explained.
But Roos accused the prime minister of stalling on the issue. ‘Brexit didn’t get in the way at all. Rutte has waited 173 days to give an answer. He needs to say as soon as possible what he will do with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision.’
‘I’m a new politician, but one with a backbone,’ added Roos. ‘For me no means no. [Rutte’s] VVD thinks no means yes.’
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