A Dutch satirical news site achieved enough votes in a petition over the European Union's pact with Ukraine to trigger a referendum, Reuters reported Sunday. The petition on GeenStijl, a satirical news site, received over 440,000 signatures, far more than the requisite 300,000 needed to call a referendum, which will likely be held in December.
The petition signaled growing discontent with the ruling government in the Netherlands, the website said. The author of the petition said the group could have chosen almost any EU-related topic, as the concern was more about EU politics in a broad sense. "Have you ever been asked what you think of such an expansion of the EU?" asked the website, Reuters reported.
"YOU did it, out of love for democracy in the Netherlands and Europe, and to send a signal to The Hague and Brussels," read a post to the website after the petition reached its high number of signatures.
The Netherlands already has ratified the EU-Ukraine association agreement that, if ratified by all 28 member states, would entail supporting Ukraine both economically and politically. The agreement has come under criticism from some Europeans who feared the association would lead to Ukraine becoming a member of the EU.
Ukraine has been in violent conflict since 2014 Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014. Since then the government has been contending with pro-Russian separatists in the eastern region of the country. The deal with the EU would give Ukraine monetary support in exchange for the implementation of political reforms.
— Erik Wesselius (@erikwesselius) September 27, 2015
The Czech Republic ratified the agreement Sept. 18 following eight hours of parliamentary debate. Belgium, Cyprus and Greece are the last three countries who have not done so.