Research into the motives of people who voted in April’s referendum on the EU treaty with Ukraine has found that anti-EU sentiment was not the main driver.
Turnout in the referendum was just 32% but 61% of the people voting were against the treaty and the government has pledged to respect the outcome.
Researchers, led by Kristof Jacobs from Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen, say the main reason for voting no was concern about corruption in Ukraine – cited by 34% of those polled. Fears that the treaty would lead to Ukraine joining the EU were in second place with 16%.
‘It would appear that voters really tried to answer the question on the voting form,’ Jacobs told Trouw.
The researchers questioned 2,500 voters about their motives. Of them, just 7.5% said they had been motivated to vote no because they were voting against Europe.
Several of the campaigners for the referendum have admitted their main purpose was to stir up anti-EU sentiment.
Recent research by the government’s social policy unit SCP shows that just one in five people in the Netherlands support withdrawing from the EU.
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