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Symposium: What to vote in the Ukraine Referendum?

17-03-2016 at 20:00 - 21:30


“The Dutch Ukraine vote could spark a continental crisis” – Jean-Claude Juncker.

With these words the president of the European Commission underlined the relevance of the referendum on the 6th of April that will be held on the acceptance of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine. This new phenomenon, of having a referendum initiated by citizens, has already caused a lot of commotion. All sorts of prejudices are being heard, rarely backed by facts. What does this Agreement actually do for us? Is Ukraine going to be the 29th Member State? And how will it influence our relations with Russia? On the 17th of March, we will sort fact from fiction for you by organizing a symposium, in which among others Andreas Umland and Pepijn van Houwelingen will debate on different statements, after which the audience will have the chance to react.

Andreas Umland is one of the leading specialists in current Ukrainian and Russian politics. He is a researcher for both the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation (IEAC) in Kyiv, Ukraine, as well as the Eichstaett Institute for Central and East European Studies (ZIMOS). Umland has studied (and is fluent in) Russian, history and political science, and has received his PhD at Cambridge and a MPhil at Oxford University. As an editor, he has published the well-known book series ‘’Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society’’ for 11 years. Besides that, he has published in all kinds of other prominent books and (scholarly) articles.

Pepijn van Houwelingen is best known as one of the founders of the ‘’Burgercomité-EU’’, which loosely translates into ‘’Citizen Committee EU’’. Together with the Citizen Committee, Van Houwelingen recently published the manifest ‘’To the people of the Netherlands’’, in which is argued that the Netherlands have lost their autonomy to the European Union. Van Houwelingen himself studied Business Engineering, Philosophy of Economics, and has obtained a PhD in Japan, which focused on social capital in Japan and is an expert in social cohesion questions.

Eelco Keij has worked for among others the United Nations Development Programme and the European Commission. He has also campaigned for a spot in the Dutch Parliament, representing D66. Because of the inconveniences he experienced while working abroad, he has started an interest group for Dutch expats, dealing with issues as double nationality. Together with among others Joshua Livestro and Michel Hulten he has started Stem Voor Nederland, which comprises a substantial part of the yes-campaign for the referendum of the 6th of April.

Joost Niemöller is a Dutch writer, journalist and public speaker. Since 1984 Niemöller published books on various subjects, recently, he published a controversial book on the MH17 crash in Ukraine. Furthermore, Niemöller was a political editor for the well respected Dutch newspaperHP/De Tijd, newsmagazine de Groene Amsterdammer, and (freelance) journalist for various other magazines and newspapers.

Nicolaas Kraft van Ermel will be the moderator during this symposium. He has been a staff member of the Netherlands-Russia Centre and has become a specialist on Ukraine after studying this country’s developments after the Orange Revolution in 2004.


20:00 - 21:30
Event Category:


Activities Committee


Huis de Beurs
A-Kerkhof Zuid Zijde 4
Groningen , 9711 JB
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