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17 February 2016

YES arguments

yesExplanation on the YES-arguments for the referendum

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Not signing this treaty would reward ‘the suspected perpetrator of MH17’

Source: Volkskrant Bert Lanting, February 6, 2016

In the Volkskrant of February 6, 2016, editor Bert Lanting presents ‘MH17’ as an argument to vote in favor of the association treaty, by speculating on ‘probable’ perpetrators; “A vote against the association treaty is a bow to the Kremlin and the pro-Russian rebels. Or, to put it quite bluntly, it is a vote for the people who most probably knocked down the MH17 flight ‘

Explanation

A reference to MH17 pleading for an affirmative (YES) or negative (NO) vote, is an appeal to a gut feeling without factual substantiation on the backs of victims and their families.

Volkskrant indirectly makes use of the emotions surrounding the MH17 disaster to demonstrate its supposed link between this association treaty and Russia. This is a variant of the “geo-political argument. GeenStijl.nl discussed this Volkskrant article.

Not signing this treaty would reward Putin for annexing Crimea

Source: quote http://www.stemvoor.nl

Explanation

Michiel van Hulten  mentions that the agreement between the EU and Ukraine will affect the relationship with Russia. This is a variant of the  ‘geo-political argument’. a thorough analysis of events surrounding Crimea is made in this book (Russland Verstehen) by Gabriele Krone-Schmalz. She says; ‘What Putin did is not conquer a country but selfdefense under pressure of time. In stead of annexation she argues that this is rather called ‘secession’. Relevant under international law as annexatie could be cause for military intervention (like with Iraq annexing Quwait in 1990), but secession is not.

Cooperation, not Accension

http://www.stemvoor.nl “Whatever the Opponents of the treaty will tell you, accension of the Ukraine to the EU is not what is going on here. It is about cooperation. The current Ukraine will never be a member of the EU. To qualify for membership a country must fullfill strong political and economic requirements that the Ukraine will take possibly several decades to fullfill them. Borderbooths will remain, tourist and trade very welcome!”

Explanation

In a Volkskrant article dated October 8, 2003 the reader may get this impression. There is cooperation on the basis of various agreements with Ukraine since 1998. This is the first time that a continuing “association agreement” is agreed. Herman van Rompuy called it the most ambitious agreement the European Union has ever offered to a nonMember State.. Some members of the Senate and the countries themselves consider this treaty a next step towards EU membership. On the europa-nu.nl website this is said about the more noncommittal Eastern Trade (the predecessor of the association treaty); “Poland and other Eastern European member states see the partnership as a future basis for accession by the aforementioned countries to the EU.” Before Croatia  joined the EU, a similar association treaty was signed.

Cooperating with the Ukraine will cost money

http://www.stemvoor.nl “In trade, there’s the “no pain, no gain” principle. Stability and security do not come for free. Money has also been – allocated by the EU. But this cooperation agreement Netherlands is no extra money. The treaty imposes obligations with regard to sound financial management, but there is no obligation for EU countries to support Ukraine financially. ”

Explanation

Trade is usually conducted by enterprising companies following “no pain, no gain” principles. Cooperation with Ukraine will cost taxpayers in Europe 11 billion of public money. This statement gives the impression that, with public money,  the investment climate is improved and investment risks covered. It is not named how the benefits of this money will return to the taxpayer. Nevertheless the investments, Ukraine end of 2015 are partly bankrupt on its debt. The conclusion of this agreement has worked destabilizing and greater insecurity resulted; the signing of this treaty failed in November 2013, which was followed by a bloody revolution and coup. As a result, the citizens of Crimea separated themselves from Ukraine through a referendum which led to the occupation and annexation of Crimea and a trade boycott with Russia. Since, in the East of Ukraine a kind of civil war is raging. In that conflict the MH17 flight was shot down.

Financing ‘Stem voor Nederland’

Vote for Netherlands” has received a 200,000 euro grant from Open Society Foundations (OSF). OSF has a long track record in terms of promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe. OSF, like Vote for Netherlands, considers that the cooperation agreement with Ukraine will play an important role in improving equal opportunities, fighting corruption and promoting social justice in Ukraine. ”

Explanation

Billionaire George Soros owns OSF.

High Representative of the EU for Ukraine, Kálmán Mizsei, is vice-president of “The Roma Policy Board of the OSF.

The OSF supports the YES campaign for the referendum vote for Netherlands.

George Soros is also known as the Man who broke the Bank of England when he speculate earned a billion dollars against the British pound in 1992. China warns Soros in January not even speculate against the Chinese currency, as it was against the British pound. Soros said in 2015 that he intended to invest a billion dollars in the Ukraine and in addition to altruistic motives therefore possible motive business with a YES vote.

Stimulating Ukraine

http://www.stemvoor.nl  “Particularly, Ukraine itself has to get to work to become a stable country. A mature democracy, without corruption and with a thriving populace. That way, Ukraine can interact with the Netherlands, the EU and Russia on an equal level. The agreement will keep the country on the right path.”

Explanation

After signing this agreement, there were various incidents that demonstrated that the agreement has not yet led to ‘the right path’. Ukraine postponed recognition of the International Court of Justice by three years. And the secret service, part of the governing body of Ukraine, is connected to the fencing of three stolen paintings from the Westfries Museum. In February 2016, the paintings will once again be put up for sale in criminal channels.

Then there is the matter of MH17: Ukraine appears disinclined to share air traffic control recordings.

Human Rights

http://www.stemvoor.nl: “Ukraine will make changes in the area of human rights, in accordance with European rules and values. Ukraine will get to work itself, the association agreement will keep the country on the right path.”

Explanation

Ukraine had already ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. War crimes still take place in the eastern Ukraine war zone, a year after the signing of the Association agreement.

Trade Barriers

http://www.stemvoor.nl: “The EU agreement will remove trade barriers. Because of this agreement, ‘trading country’ the Netherlands will gain trading opportunities in a marketplace of 45 million people.”

Explanation

The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) is still being investigated. <needs contributions>

Security of Europe

http://www.stemvoor.nl: “Dutch national safety is under threat. With so much unrest on the EU’s borders, we need to build a zone of peace and stability in and around Europe. That is why we need a stable and thriving Ukraine.”

Explanation

The period after the dissolution of the Warsaw pact is often seen as the end of the Cold War and the reestablishment of a normal relationship with Russia; there was less unrest on our outer borders. According to the Russians, during the talks about the reunion of east- and west Germany, they received assurances that NATO would not be extending itself eastwards. This was never put to paper in a treaty, but it was said aloud, such as by ex-NATO boss Wörner (1990): “This will also be true of a united Germany in NATO. The very fact that we are ready not to deploy NATO troops beyond the territory of the Federal Republic gives the Soviet Union firm security guarantees”.

NATO moved eastward. They placed a rocket shield in Poland. NATO claimed this was ‘against Iran’, but the truth eventually came out. You could say that Dutch safety is under threat because of this expansion, the placement of weapons, and the pretense. This trade agreement could be interpreted as ‘moving eastward’. The consequences this can have for ‘Europe’s outer borders’ is visible in Eastern Ukraine and the sanctions that were put on Russia.

The question remains if the safety of Europe is best served with stable borders, or with more trade and cooperation with parties outside of those borders.

Ukrainian reforms

Source: Dutch government. “The agreement gives Ukraine a chance to introduce reforms that will turn it into a stable and thriving country.”

Source: Interview with Dutch PM Mark Rutte in Buitenhof, 10th of January 2016 at 32:15

Explanation

Ukraine’s state finances are not sustainable according to the rules in the Treaty of Maastricht. Ukraine went selectively bankrupt on state debt in 2015. Part of the steps taken to turn Ukraine (and other countries with an impossible debt position) into a ‘stable and thriving country’ would be: writing off the debt. This agreement will bring Ukraine closer to the strategy the European Union takes to its debts: diminishing earnings due to increasing tax pressure, monetary easing, negative interest and deflation. The stacking of credit to Ukraine is reminiscent of what happened on the eve of the Orange revolution in 1994.

More than anything else, this is a free trade agreement with the Ukraine

Source: “…This is primarily a free trade agreement with the Ukraine, that is in our best interest, it will lead to more jobs locally…” Rutte, Buitenhof, 10-1-’16

Explanation

The Association Agreement includes the DCFTA trade agreement, which also extends to several other countries in the region. In this interview, Prime Minister Rutte states that this trade agreement is the most important part of the treaty with Ukraine. This is a relevant addition of something that was less than clear in the text itself.

Then he states that the agreement will be good for Dutch trade and it will create jobs.

As far as we are aware, there is no research available that supports this assertion. The most recent research we can find about the impact of the Association agreement hails from 2007. That is the year that talks about the treaty started. The impact of any possible changes in the texts were not taken into consideration for this analysis. The situation in Ukraine has changed since then, as have the relationships between Ukraine and her trade partners Russia and Europe.

Ukraine allegedly has an economy the size of that of the province of Noord Holland.

We have similar trade agreements with countries in Central America and the Middle East, those won’t become EU member states either

Source: “… It is no pre-membership treaty, like the opponents claim.” “We also have these association agreements with Central America, we have them with the Middle East. They don’t want to be a member of the European Union. So there is little risk that this will be the case…” Rutte, Buitenhof, 10-1-’16

Explanation

From the NOS news website: The European Union has dozens of association agreements, but the content changes from country to country. Association agreements can be used to regulate trade or establish shared border controls. Some association agreements include preparation for a later European Union membership, such as in the case of Croatia.

Former EU President Van Rompuy confirmed that not all association agreements are equal: “the most ambitious agreement the European Union has ever offered to a nonMember State”.

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