US urges Dutch voters not to reject Ukraine-EU accord

1st April 2016, Comments 0 comments

The United States on Friday urged Dutch voters not to reject the European Union's cooperation deal with Ukraine when they go to the polls next week.

The Netherlands is to hold a referendum on the accord, which puts Ukraine on the path towards eventual EU membership, after a grassroots eurosceptic campaign.

The vote is seen in the Netherlands as an opportunity for the Dutch to express broader concerns about the European project, but it could have deep geopolitical consequences.

Russia resents Ukraine's tilt towards the West and would relish any decision that prevents it from developing deeper ties with Brussels.

"Like any referendum the decision is for the Dutch people," State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said.

"But we believe that an association agreement is in the best interests of Ukraine, the Netherlands and Europe as a whole."

The Netherlands will vote on April 6 on the accord, which came provisionally into effect on January 1, 2014 but could still be blocked by any of the 27 EU member states.

© 2016 AFP

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