Dutch voters’ overwhelming rejection of closer ties between Ukraine and the European Union is another indication of how very tenuous the stability and security fostered by the EU over many decades has become.
The vote also reflects the sad reality that blandishments offered to Ukraine, blandishments that flew in the face of history and Russia’s intractable determination to dominate its borderlands, were admirable but naive.
Russia was never going to contemplate the westernisation of Ukraine no matter how noble that ambition seemed to the champions of democracy.
The Dutch vote comes at possibly the most challenging moment faced by the EU in decades.
The EU is struggling to allow the humane liberalism at its core influence its response to the crisis provoked by almost unimaginable numbers of refugees arriving on its shores. It is also struggling, as any confederation would, to deal with a new kind of terrorism.
The growing prospect of Brexit and what that might mean for the eurozone economy raises serious questions too. It is time for those who appreciate and cherish the achievements of the EU, for all its faults, to make their voice heard. Anyone who doubts that should consider what this small, isolated and dependent country was like before we joined the EEC.