Dutch threaten to block EU-Ukraine association deal
The Hague wants to be sure the deal will include a binding defense guarantee with Ukraine and will not raise the question of its further membership of the bloc.
“If we do not get this we will put a law to parliament the next day, which will state that we will not ratify the association agreement,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told the Financial Times.
The Dutch people have voted against the deal that is supposed to connect Brussels and Kiev politically and economically. Even though the vote is not binding, the majority of Dutch parties have agreed to stick with the results.
“We are working on addressing the concerns that were raised in the referendum,” Rutte told the media.
According to Rutte, he doesn’t ask for the Netherlands to be exempt from the agreement that each EU member has ratified except for the Hague. “I am asking for quite a lot. [But] what I am not asking for is re-ratification,” he said.
“Europe must be unified now toward Russia’s foreign policy,” said the prime minister.
However, even if Rutte does manage to strike a last-minute deal with Brussels, his party does not have the majority in the parliament, and other parties in the Netherlands are pushing to abide by the referendum results.
In April, 61 percent of the Dutch voted against the agreement between the EU and Ukraine. Many analysts have suggested the deal is unprofitable for the EU and is only being put forward to spite Russia.
The Netherlands holds elections in March, and polls say the Euroskeptic PVV party is ahead of Rutte’s center-right VVD.