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MOSCOW, January 29. /TASS/. The significance of the Dutch referendum on the ratification of the European Union’s association agreement with Ukraine should not be underestimated, Russia’s Permanent Representative at the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said on Friday.
"The Dutch government is seeking to put a good face on I would not say what," he said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel. "It is obviously not the right time for them, bearing in mind that the Netherlands’ six-month presidency in the European Union Council started from January 1."
"But they have no other option," the Russian diplomat noted. "This will be the first instance of the implementation of the country’s recently adopted law on the procedure of such referendums. They tell us nothing will change, that the results of the Dutch poll matter nothing because this referendum is not binding, it is a sort of recommendatory, etc."
In this connection, he reminded that the 2005 Dutch referendum on the European constitution was of the same character. "It [the referendum] was also non-binding but what did it end up in? The constitution was re-written to become a pale imitation the Lisbon agreement in fact is," Chizhov said.
"So, I’d recommend analysts to know better than to forecast the outcome," he added.
However he said he did not think the effect of this referendum would show up soon from the point of view of routine practice, including for Russia’s interests. "The entire agreement on Ukraine’s association with the European Union, including its chapter four, on trade and economic matters, which, as a matter of fact, accounts for about 70% of the text, became effective on a temporary basis," the Russian diplomat said. "But even implemented on a temporary basis, it will create problems for the Russian economy, for our economic ties we had discussed with our partners in the European Commission and Kiev for more than a year."