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Jean-Claude Juncker

Battered EU is loser again in Dutch referendum on Ukraine

It once seemed a quaint formality, but the Netherlands' referendum on a European Union free-trade deal with Ukraine amounted to a slap in the face for the EU — and yet another serious challenge to the European dream.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the EU's executive Commission, had warned ahead of Wednesday's poll that a rejection of the deal "would open the door to a great continental crisis." Such is the EU's standing these days, however, that its warnings are not only disregarded but seen as a provocation.

The "great continental crisis" may not be imminent just yet, but with a separate British referendum on whether to leave the EU...