CEES nl m 4




February 2016

Why? Is the most common response I received during my visit to Ukraine. "Why does Holland have a referendum." Ukraine is already Western and citizens have already chosen freedom and European values. Looking backwards is not an option. Ukraine and the EU are already interconnected, agreement or no agreement. YES is the only option for both sides.

If two parties enter into an agreement have also to do with both parties, "it takes two to tango." We often hear why the agreement is good or bad for the Netherlands but how are the agreement and our referendum viewed in Ukraine?


In 2012 there was the European Championship in Ukraine where Orange came to Kharkiv to play its matches. With a group we left for Ukraine. All the stories and imagery despite we ended up in a very welcoming and modern western country. Through couchsurfing and through friends and acquaintances we have spent time in private homes. Time enough to ask any question possible and to see how people and society look like. There was a big gap Between reality and image.
The years after Ukraine was often in the news. Almost always there were heavy subjects. The interpretation was often inconsistent. First, the sentiment was for Ukraine and the EU. Later, the image changed again.
Over the years we have kept in touch with all the acquaintances and always asked their opinion. Again and again it showed me that reality and media were town separate image. The facts and opinions of residents of Ukraine were mostly very different with what we have heard here
We heard civil war, they told about an invasion using smart propaganda. Media told us that the country is divided between two language groups, they told us that almost no one had a problem with this. Just two examples.



Suddenly the referendum was there. On April 6, the referendum is held so that the voter can express his opinion on whether the European Union should enter into an association agreement with Ukraine.
An obscure story and a complicated question. People have the tendency to simplify matters. It seems that some voters to vote because they think that Ukraine is part of the European Union or to learn the Dutch government and the EU a lesson. They therefore do not vote on the actual question because there is a lack of factual information. In fact, it is a treaty between two countries where economic and legal matters are settled and which Ukraine promises to take action in order to respect certain norms and values. A Win-Win situation without any risk.
This referendum continued to intrigue me. First of all I read the agreement once again. Since it is a rather extensive and dry legal document the voter will never read this treaty and is therefore at the mercy of the media including all fallacies and bizarre imagery surrounding this referendum. Meanwhile, all kinds of opinion-makers and politicians take a battle around this issue.
Part of the agreement is already in force and it is still questionable whether the government does anything with the result, and is going to do anything let alone the European Union.
Most of them have never been in Ukraine and perhaps most of them never talked to someone from Ukraine.

This can never be the purpose of a referendum. With much disbelief I now follow all the media attention.


This website is the result of a private initiative myself and my associates to show that a YES the only option for Ukraine by means of this agreement with the EU. In a playful way, and "blog" and article form we tell you why. The people we met 4 years ago could explain this perfectly and also show how the country is doing.

We also try to give a different and positive image of Ukraine. The objective is that the reader gets acquainted with the country and the people and become convinced that YES is the only option. In this way we hope to create a positive image about the treaty with Ukraine in times that many black / white imaging exists.

I thank you for your time and attention. I am positive about the agreement and it is up to you as a reader to form his own opinion. However, we hope of course that you would vote YES after reading and seeing the items.

Cees @ BacktoEuro