View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 7 April 2016

The Dutch referendum

The Netherlands went to the polls in a referendum yesterday, which was to advise the government how the people felt about the EU trade deal with Ukraine. About two out of every three people said 'nee', [no], they didn't like it. This coming from one of the founding members of the European Economic Community of the 1950s is profoundly disturbing. My personal assessment is that this no-vote was brought about on the back of the migrant crisis, currently gripping Europe, as well as the political uncertainty in Ukraine. Don't forget that that is a deeply divided country, where the western part would like to be more integrated with Europe, whereas the eastern part would like to be more integrated with Putin's Russia. The civil war in Ukraine, fomented by Putin, has subsided after our Vlad decided that it wasn't getting him anywhere and it was all backfiring on him - I refer to #MH17.

However, there is more to this issue than just the EU and Ukraine. It is about dissatisfaction with the European bureaucracy, which is held to be undemocratic and not properly held to account. The UK is going to the polls on its membership of the EU on June 23rd, and this result will be viewed with interest this side of the North Sea.

Further analysis is given on the link to the BBC news story.