European Union (EU)
Reply by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova to a media question on the ratification of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement by the Dutch Parliament
Question: What could you say about the end of the saga on the ratification of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement by the Dutch Parliament and its future entry in force?
Maria Zakharova: You know that we do not interfere in relations between third countries. Right after the start of the temporary application of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, the Russian leadership took adequate and, for that time, exhaustive measures to protect the internal market, which is a priority for us. Importantly, to preserve Russian-Ukrainian trade and economic ties we suggested resolving, in a legally binding way, Russia’s concerns over the introduction of the norms and rules of the deep and comprehensive EU-Ukraine free trade area. The fact that Brussels found a legally binding solution that opened the way for ratifying the Association Agreement in the Netherlands completely refutes the assertions of our opponents that they were impossible to resolve.
During the past year Russia and the rest of the world were watching with interest how the advocates of Ukraine’s European future spent 14 months to find a way out of the situation that took shape after the referendum in the Netherlands in which the Dutch people clearly expressed their opposition to the idea of tying Ukraine to the EU at all cost. Indicatively, this took place despite the powerful propaganda brainwashing by strategists from Brussels and other capitals, their own leaders and a political landing party from Kiev.
These dubious methods, to put it mildly, are on the conscience of Dutch politicians. Quite predictably, at the recent debates everything boiled down to evidence-free assertions of Moscow’s provocations, appeals for European solidarity in the face of the mythical “Russian threat” and so on.
However, all this leads to a sad conclusion: in fact, the Dutch people who said “no” to the association with Ukraine were taken for a ride. This was done by their own leaders who again resorted to openly Russophobic propaganda, which directly confirms the anti-Russian character of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, regardless of any assurances to the contrary.
As for the Kiev authorities, the ratification of the ill-fated agreement will give them some time to continue telling Ukrainians fairy tales about “the bright European future”. These fairy tales have become much less impressive after the adoption of a legally binding decision by 28 EU countries to ensure the agreement’s ratification. Let me recall that it says in no uncertain terms that the association does not grant Ukraine a status of a EU candidate member. Nor does the agreement provide for any security guarantees, military aid or new EU financial commitments to Kiev. The agreement has no obligations on the free movement of labour, primarily Ukrainian. In the meantime Kiev continues ignoring Ukraine’s rapid transformation from an industrialised state into the EU’s agrarian raw material appendage. It is to be hoped that the wise Ukrainian people will figure things out.