Dutch people began voting Wednesday on whether to back a key EU pact with Ukraine in a referendum triggered by grassroots eurosceptic groups and seen as a yardstick on ties with Brussels.




Polling stations opened across the country from early Wednesday, with a small trickle of voters queuing to cast their ballots in the non-binding popular vote on whether the Dutch approve closer ties with Kiev.


The outcome is being closely watched by both the West and Moscow, and a Dutch “No” to the two-year-old treaty with Kiev could pose a headache for the European Union.


“I think it’s good to have a referendum, to be able to say what we think of Brussels. It’s important,” one voter, who identified himself only as Bert, 49, told AFP after voting.


Opinion polls on the eve of the vote on the EU’s so-called Association Agreement with Ukraine gave the “No” vote a slight edge.


And after a slow-to-start, low-key campaign, many observers were watching to see if the 30-percent turnout of the 12.5 million eligible voters needed to ensure the vote is valid would be met.


One Ipsos poll said some 37 percent polled over recent days said they would vote against the deal, around 33 percent were in favour and the rest remained undecided.




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