U.S. hopes Dutch referendum not to affect European integration of Ukraine
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner has said that the United States hopes that the results of the referendum in the Netherlands on the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union will not affect the European integration of Ukraine.
"We're disappointed by the results [of the referendum], but we do respect the views of the Dutch people and we respect the Dutch political process," Toner said at a daily press briefing in Washington on April 7, 2016.
"We understand there's still a process in place – I'd refer you to the Dutch Government on – with regard to what next steps are imminent. We said before and we'll say it again today: We believe this association agreement is in the best interests of Ukraine, the U.S., and the European Union, and we still stand by that," he said.
Read alsoNetherlands to seek compromise on Ukraine-EU deal"I think President Poroshenko's said that they're going to continue to work towards an association agreement, take the steps they need to take in terms of reforms and other measures. We support them in those efforts. This was something that was agreed by all other members and ratified by all other members of the EU, so there is support for this. And it's our, I guess, hope that it doesn't affect that process to continue closer ties to the West, closer ties with the EU. As we've long said, it's not for us, it's not for Russia, it's not for anyone to decide which way or which path Ukraine wants to pursue, but it should have the right to its – the Ukrainian people should have the right to pursue closer ties with the West if it wants to and stronger economic ties and stronger democratic institutions. That's its own right, sovereign right," Toner said.
As was reported earlier, Dutch voters overwhelmingly rejected a Ukraine-European Union treaty on closer political and economic ties. During the referendum, which was held on April 6, a total of 64% of Dutch referendum voters said "No" to the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. The turnout was just 32% – barely enough for the result to be valid. The official results of the referendum are expected to be published on April 12.