On 31 March, Hague Institute experts met with the President of the Ukrainian World Congress, Mr. Eugene Czolij. The meeting preceded the upcoming Dutch referendum on the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, which will took place on 6 April.
Mr. Czolij provided a brief overview of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC)’s work, an international coordinating body for Ukrainian communities in the diaspora, representing the interests of over 20 million Ukrainians. He met with Dr. Aaron Matta, Senior Researcher within the Rule of Law Program, and Mr. Tom Buitelaar, a researcher with the Conflict Prevention team. Mr. Anthony M. van der Togt, a Senior Research Fellow at Cligendael also joined the discussion.
In addition to discussing the political crisis in Ukraine, Mr. Czolij addressed the growing Euroscepticism within The Netherlands and beyond which has influenced the debate, as well as the non-binding nature and consequences of the referendum. He offered constructive ideas about how best to support the Dutch public in making an informed vote, and encouraged Dutch officials to portray the objectives of the Association Agreement in an accurate manner.
“There is a need to provide the Dutch public with the accurate and necessary background so they can make an informed vote.”
Mr. Eugene Czolij, referring to the referendum
The expert consultation forms part of the Institutes contribution towards facilitating the exchange of knowledge on the issues facing EU external relations, particularly dialogue to improve peace and stability in the region. In recent weeks, the Institute’s work has included research projects and events such as:
- High-level panel discussion organized last December, together with the Embassy of Ukraine, on the EU – Ukraine Association Agreement
- Conference on the Legacy of the Holomodor in Ukraine: From Post-Genocidal to Civil Society
- Discussion on International Law in Practice: Georgia and Ukraine
- Presentation by the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Netherlands, His Excellency Mr. Alexander Horin, of the Government Plan for Ukraine’s Recovery