The Hague (GPA) – Yesterday, the parliament of the Netherlands voted to remove the final roadblock to securing economic cooperation between the European Union and the crypto-fascist government in Ukraine.
Despite an initial rejection by public referendum, the upper house of the Dutch parliament voted 50 to 25 in favor of proceeding with an association agreement between Brussels and Kiev. The Netherlands was the last country whose approval was needed to push through the controversial arrangement, despite the majority of their citizens opposing the move.
While this agreement doesn’t make any steps towards officially bringing Ukraine into the EU, or provide any new military support, it does open up new economic channels meant to further subvert Russian market share in Eastern Europe. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte even framed the vote as an attack on what he calls Russia’s “increasingly destabilizing foreign policy.”
While Rutte was one of the sole European leaders who made sure the agreement wouldn’t be a stepping stone for Ukraine to officially join the EU, he clearly still buys into much of the hype about Russia’s alleged encroachment into Eastern Europe. One man who couldn’t be happier is of course the Russophobic fear monger and European Commission chair from Poland, Jean-Claude Juncker.
Juncker predictably views the agreement as a step in the right direction in the ongoing tensions between Russia and the EU, then Brussels continues to see in black and white terms. Juncker said the Dutch vote and future ratification of the agreement would provide “an important signal from the Netherlands and the entire European Union to our Ukrainian friends: Ukraine’s place is in Europe. Ukraine’s future lies with Europe.”
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was also pleased with the move, saying on his Facebook that the agreement is “a guarantee of our freedom, independence and territorial integrity. Europe is our civilisational choice.”
Russian Response to Dutch Vote
The Russian government issued a response to the Dutch resolution via Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. Zakharova rightly called out the Dutch leaders for the obvious governmental overreach in circumventing the choice of their own citizens to not increase EU ties with Ukraine.
Zakharova pointed out that it was the “Dutch leaders” who passed yesterday’s bill and not the people of the country. She accused the Dutch of employing all the usual tricks and talking points, saying “They once again made a ploy of overtly Russophobic propaganda, which incidentally offers a direct testimony to the anti-Russian essence of this agreement, despite the assurances it isn’t anti-Russian.”
Also in her statement, Zakharova warned the citizens of Ukraine that their government was “feeding [them] fairy tales about a bright European future.” Looking at recent history of Eastern European countries who have joined the EU, this prediction probably won’t be too far off.
Zakharova’s warning that “Kiev will continue hushing up a speedy degeneration of the country from a developed industrialized state into an agrarian appendage to the EU” sounds fairly similar to the oppressive economic conditions placed on current eastern EU members such as the Baltic states.
Zakharova did however voice “hope for the wisdom of the Ukrainian people” that they would “be able to realize what’s happening.” While it’s not likely that this should be counted on she is right that it’s the last resort for Ukraine at this stage.
This new agreement could very well place Ukraine irreversibly on the path to becoming yet another eastern vassal state for the EU. There’s also the question of what this will mean for the war raging in eastern Ukraine between the junta in Kiev and the fighters in the Donbas republics, with the latter not necessarily seeking to join the Russian Federation but are obviously going to completely reject becoming servants of Brussels.
The new agreement may prop up the failing regime in Kiev but it can only last so long. The people of nations like Ukraine only want to be let into the European fold until it actually happens. If more moves are made following this new agreement, these average Ukrainians will be the true victims.
Also published on Medium.