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Kharkov: the city where Dutch illusions were buried

Kharkov: the city where Dutch illusions were buriedI will never forget the waitress who was sobbing her soul into the phone: "Ours’ lost and took off!" It happened in Kharkov during Euro- 2012, and by "ours" the woman meant ...the Dutch team.

At that time the national team of the Netherlands held all three matches in their qualifying group in Kharkov. All three of them were lost. But it is not the key point. Fans of the Dutch national team literally "occupied" the city and make it love them for their openness, recklessness and freedom. In total, at the time there were about 26 thousand Dutch fans in the city. And never before in its history, the city was so "orange".

Later the Dutch team fans have published on their website an open letter in which they wrote that Kharkov surpassed all their expectations. "We were met by caring, understanding, kind and fantastic people! We were very happy to share with them our emotions and to diversify the life of the city. We love you!".

... Almost four years have passed after the abovementioned events. Let us imagine that a fan of the Dutch national team decides to learn how Kharkov lives now. And what will he discover at the very first, even superficial googling?

"... The businessman Yuri Dement was shot at the cemetery in Kharkov. He was the closest ally, friend and partner of the city mayor Gennady Kernes ... The body of Dement is lying on the back, with the hands crossed on the chest and the head pointed to the entrance of the third city cemetery, on the left of the tomb of the mother ..." .

Actually I'm speaking about the referendum in the Netherlands, which is to be held on April, the 6th 2016. The fate of the Agreement on Ukraine’s Association in the EU will be decided at this referendum. The Parliament of the Netherlands has completed the process of ratification of the Agreement in July 2015. And everything would have been good, but two months later, a social movement GeenPeil collected the necessary number of signatures - more than 450 thousand - for a consultative referendum on the ratification of the Agreement.


Obviously, Ukraine didn’t like this idea. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin even called the initiators of the plebiscite "eurosceptics" and expressed the confidence that the survey would not have any legal consequences.

Only time will show the results. If the Dutch vote for the revision of the Agreement with Ukraine with a turnout of at least 30%, the Government and the Parliament may take this into consideration.

But in this regard, the other figures represent much more interest. The pollsters of TNS Nipo found out that about 49% of residents of the Netherlands do not know anything at all about Ukrainian referendum. And only 21% of respondents said they "definitely" go to referendum, while 28% are not sure about their decision.

But here we have even more entertaining numbers. 33% of respondents intend to vote against the Agreement on Association with Ukraine, 23% will vote for it. Another 32% of respondents are undecided.

And I was really touched by the next digit. To find out whether the Dutch want to see the Ukrainians in the EU, they will allocate 30 million euros. Their euros! 30, Paul, 30 !!!
Kharkov: the city where Dutch illusions were buried

Moreover, "the government says that the referendum on April the 6th 2016 should be well prepared and organized," - said the Minister of the Interior Affairs of the Kingdom Ronald Plasterk. In his letter, the Minister appealed to the Parliament of the country with an explanation why this amount has grown from previously planned 30 million euros to 40 million euros. "However, it is still unknown how many referendums may be held in the future, so the approach to funding should be carefully weighed," - said Plasterk.

And in the future, in fact, another referendum could be held as well. It will be much more serious, dedicated to the topic of the Netherlands’ membership in the EU. Like the one that is going to be held the UK. According to the survey conducted by the firm “Maurice de Hond”, 53% of Dutch people support the idea of holding such a referendum, while 44% of them are against the idea.

And if the corresponding vote occurred, 44% of the Dutch would vote for remaining in the EU, while 43% would support their country's exit from the European Union.

That's the story. With all the brightness of their life the Dutch, as it seems, are quite realistic about the current events and affairs. And they see what is happening in Europe with the migrants, with the British, with the Greeks and with Ukrainians, "lying head to the entrance of the third city cemetery ...".

Ukraine itself should want to get out of there, out of that scary cheerless place. The Netherlands can only help us in the realization of this desire. But if there is no real desire, it will be much cheaper for the EU to build a fence around the Ukrainian "city cemetery". And in the best case, to maintain us with different pieces of paper. Sometimes with the money, sometimes – with the letters which will be very good, but, in essence, farewell: "We were very happy to share with you our emotions and to diversify the life of the city ....".

Who could have known that with all the desire to move closer to Europe, the Ukrainian body is still "lying on the back, with the hands crossed on the chest?" at its native usual "city cemetery" of Dutch illusions ...

Konstantin Nikolaev

Translated by Maria Kryzhanovska

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