Juncker Warns of Possible Crisis Over Dutch Referendum on Deal With Ukraine
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned of a possible crisis in European Union over of the referendum in the Netherlands, which is due to question the Association Agreement between the bloc and Ukraine.
The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement establishes a political and economic association between the parties. The deal was signed after a coup-imposed Ukrainian government came to power in 2014. The agreement specifically seeks to create a free trade zone between Ukraine and the 28-nation bloc.
“I would like to see the Dutch to realize that this issue goes beyond the interests of the Netherlands. I hope that they will not vote “no” for reasons that are not related to the agreement itself,” Juncker in an interview with the NRC Handelsblad newspaper, published Saturday.
The European Commission’s head also said he believed that the Dutch would not vote “no” as it “could open the door for a major continental crisis.”
The Netherlands is set to hold the advisory referendum in April 2016. The referendum was announced after Dutch activists had collected the required amount of signatures on a petition to initiate a national referendum.