Ukraine Referendum Results in the Netherlands: a Response from Katherine Watson, ECF Director

On 6 April 2016, Dutch citizens voted “for or against the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine?” This is an important decision for the future direction of both countries and their relationships with Europe, and we find it very unfortunate that the majority of voters said no.

For more than a decade, ECF has been working with many partners in Ukraine and we have built strong partnerships. In 2015, the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture was awarded to Visual Culture Research Center (VCRC) in Kiev and we continue to support exchange between cultural managers from Europe and Ukraine through our Tandem programme.

In a recent interview, VCRC’s director Vasyl Cherepanyn said that

“We need a common European vocabulary; it is the basis to make the understanding of our different experiences possible and to reflect on the solutions of our common European problems without hiding social reality.”

This is what we are trying to build throughout our programmes.

ECF believes in Europe and believes that culture is the space within which we can confront, negotiate and navigate our differences - the space within which we learn to live together - in Europe, but also in the world. And this space begins very close to home. For me Europe is an intricate web of inter-local connections, a much different picture than a patchwork of nations, layered over the people themselves.

We will continue building this Europe neighbourhood by neighbourhood and relationship by relationship - open to and connecting with both those who think like us and those who do not.

Katherine Watson,
Director of the European Cultural Foundation