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MOSCOW, April 8. /TASS/. European Union officials are seeking to diminish significance of the Netherlands’ referendum on the Ukraine-EU association, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said on Friday.
"As for EU structures, they are seeking not to focus too much attention on that subject. They are rather diminishing the meaning of what has happened stressing that the referendum was non-binding and had no direct influence on the EU legislation, that it was the Netherlands’ domestic affair so it has to deal with this situation on it own," Chizhov said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel.
He said the European Union had obviously hoped the referendum would ultimately fail as non-valid due to insufficient voter turnout, or less than 30% The fact that this threshold was in the long run overcome is partially a result of "incompetent noisy campaign staged by Ukrainian officials, public organization and their supporters," the Russian diplomat said, adding that it was their actions to a larger extent that had prompted the Dutch say "no."
The referendum on ratification of the EU-Ukraine association agreement was the first vote organized under the Dutch Consultative Referendum Law. According to preliminary vote count, the EU-Ukraine deal was rejected by 61.1% of Dutch voters whereas 38.1% backed the agreement. The turnout was 32.2%, or slightly over the 30-percent threshold needed for considering the vote to be valid.
The referendum results are non-binding on the government but the country’s authorities have already said they will take them into consideration while taking further decisions.