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Zaorálek: EU’s credibility jeopardised by Dutch referendum

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Prague, April 7 (CTK) – The credibility of the European Union is in jeopardy due to the outcome of the Netherlands’ referendum in which the Dutch rejected the EU-Ukraine association agreement, according to preliminary results, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek has written on Twitter.

Czech President Milos Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said the referendum result should be accepted.

“Otherwise it would be but an empty and ineffective tool,” he said.

The referendum is not binding on the Dutch government.

“After the Dutch referendum, the EU’s credibility as a partner is in jeopardy…this is something the Netherlands must clearly react to now!” Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) wrote.

The EU-Ukraine association agreement was signed in 2014. To take effect, it needs to be ratified by all 28 EU members.

The Netherlands is the last EU member not to have completed the ratification yet. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his cabinet will reassess its previous approval of the agreement.

Jakub Janda, an analyst from the Czech think tank European Values, said the referendum has only a consultative character, which means its result must be discussed by the Dutch parliament. However, nothing binds the Dutch government to deal with it, Janda said.

He said he expects the Netherlands to approve a protocol saying that the country will not be a party to the association agreement.

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