Student - March 24, 2016

Meanwhile in Ukraine

In the news - On 6 April the Dutch will vote on the EU association treaty with Ukraine. How do Ukrainians perceive the referendum?

Photo: Drop of light/

Commentary by Anna Kryvonos (MSc Water Management) and Kyrylo Schenstnyi (MSc Plant Sciences).

Anna: ‘’A few years ago you could see Russia and Ukraine as brother and sister. Russia was our main trade partner. Since the war in our country it is different. There is no trade anymore and the relationship has cooled down. Our country has been in an economic decline.

Ukraine wants to make political and economic progress. The agreement with the EU will help. It will stabilize our country. The Ukrainians support the treaty. People want to create a better relationship with Europe. Most people who prefer Russia already have already left for that country.

No matter what the Dutch vote, the treaty will probably be signed, but the voting might slow things down. Take for example visa-free travel in the EU. That has been on the agenda for a long time, but is always delayed. If a majority in the Netherlands votes against it, it will certainly take more time.’’

Kyrylo: ‘’A few years ago our government refused to sign a treaty with the EU. This was a turning point. It led to major demonstrations by people who wanted better relations with Europe. Since then we walk that line.

Our neighbour, Russia, is against our decision. If the Netherlands votes against the treaty, that would benefit only Russians. ‘Ukraine wanted change’, they will say, ‘but Europe does not want Ukraine. Now they are on their own.’

I am in favour of the treaty. As I study plant sciences, I see great opportunities for cooperation between our countries in the agricultural sector. The Ukrainian market is huge, but is not highly developed technologically. The abolition of barriers will boost trade in high-tech products, investments and will bring general economic growth to Ukraine, the Netherlands and the entire EU.

Delve deep into the subject before you vote, is my advice. Do not rely on populist news, but look for more information and broaden your horizon about the topic.’ LdP