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21 September 2017
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Politico: Dutch strategy on Ukraine referendum leaked

Dutch cabinet ministers should tell voters that an EU-Ukraine deal is good for trade but they should not talk about conflict with Russia, according to the Dutch government's referendum strategy, which was leaked to the broadcaster RTL, the European version of Politico reported.

REUTERS
REUTERS

A 12-page document, made public Thursday, lists a number of questions people might have about an association agreement between the EU and Ukraine that the Dutch will vote on April 6, Politico wrote.

It urges ministers to tell Dutch voters that the agreement will benefit trade and "ordinary Ukrainians."

"The referendum is not about a conflict with Russia and Putin," it says, adding: "Do not take this vote as an opportunity to talk about discontent with the EU."

The document also shows that the government expects a positive outcome, but can't rule out a No vote.

"With a valid No [if the turnout is more than 30%] the cabinet will think about the steps it will take and discuss this with parliament."

The text also refers to global reaction to the vote, saying "there will be more international attention for the Netherlands."

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte responded to the leak on Thursday before the European Council in Brussels. "Nothing stays secret," he said, adding that "the association agreement is important, since the Netherlands is a trade nation."

The referendum campaign officially started last month. Opinion polls suggest a slight lead for the No campaign.

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