After a year’s delay, Dutch approve Ukraine treaty

The Dutch vote was as much a rebuke to Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the European Union as a rejection of the treaty, which focuses mostly on trade ties.

By: Reuters | Amsterdam | Published:May 30, 2017 8:45 pm
Jean-Claude Juncker, Dutch Senate, Ukraine, EU association agreement with Ukraine European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (AP Photo, File)

The Dutch senate on Tuesday approved a European Union “association agreement” with Ukraine, a final hurdle to the treaty, which strengthens the former Soviet republic’s ties with Western Europe and moves it further from Moscow’s orbit. It did so following amendments made at the EU level to take into consideration the Dutch referendum vote last year against the agreement.

“Today’s vote in the Dutch Senate sends an important signal from the Netherlands and the entire European Union to our Ukrainian friends: Ukraine’s place is in Europe. Ukraine’s future lies with Europe,” said EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The agreement, a treaty, had already been negotiated and approved by all EU governments and by Ukraine in 2014, and had even partially gone into effect pending ratification when it was abruptly rejected by Dutch voters in a snap referendum held in April 2016.

The Dutch vote was as much a rebuke to Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the European Union as a rejection of the treaty, which focuses mostly on trade ties. But Rutte and the European Union diplomats were forced to renegotiate parts of the treaty in order to render it palatable to Dutch parliament or risk seeing it derailed, since it cannot be ratified without support from all European Union legislatures.

Ultimately the treaty was amended to underline it does not make Ukraine a candidate for EU membership, does not entitle Kiev to financial aid or military assistance from the bloc, and does not give Ukrainians the right to live and work in EU member states.

The amended version passed Dutch parliament in March, and the Senate approved it Monday, both by comfortable margins.

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  1. P
    pkl
    May 30, 2017 at 9:22 pm
    The Ukranian "Chocolate Seller" president is a stooge of USA and needs to be kicked out first . As for Mr. Junckars comment - Ukrain was never outside Europe . Its future lies with that of all its neighbours - friendly or hostile- as also largely with the USA. It is not in the pocket of the EU as Mr.Junckar seems to imply .
    Reply