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06.04.2016 | Carl Bildt

Ukraine: The case for ’voor’ in the Dutch Referendum

   

The European Union must ensure that it has a realistic and effective policy towards its East. And entering into agreements which encourage greater integration and cooperation with these countries is the only way of doing that.

This is, to put it very simply, what the agreement between the EU and Ukraine on deep and comprehensive free trade is all about, together with the arrangements in place with other countries to the East of Europe.

However, in the discussion prior to the consultative referendum in the Netherlands that will take place on 6 April,  the forces rallying against the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement are saying “no” to all of this, but without offering any alternative. They want a European Union without a policy towards our East - probably because they don’t want any European Union at all.

It’s a dangerous illusion to believe that we could simply isolate ourselves from the issues to the East of Europe, and claim that these are “far-away countries” of which we know little. Turmoil and conflicts in the region are bound to impact us in the EU, not only in terms of huge numbers of refugees, but also in terms of endangering peace and stability in Europe.

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