Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

Dutch PM clinches deal on Ukraine treaty

  • Rutte (c) convinced his colleagues to support a text that clarifies the EU-Ukraine association agreement (Photo: Consillium)

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte reached a deal on Thursday (15 December) with his 27 EU colleagues about the EU-Ukraine treaty, but stressed he cannot guarantee Dutch parliament will support the outcome.

“There is a legally binding document on the table, which addresses all the Dutch points,” Rutte told journalists in Brussels.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The text is aimed at quelling misgivings Dutch voters had over the EU-Ukraine association agreement, signed in 2014.

The treaty was rejected with a broad majority in April, and although the vote was non-binding, Rutte wanted to find a third way beyond his options of ratifying or binning the treaty.

The binding text, a decision of the EU heads of state and government, "clearly states what is and what is not in the treaty", said Rutte.

The text says the Ukraine agreement “does not confer on Ukraine the status of a candidate country for accession to the Union, nor does it constitute a commitment to confer such status to Ukraine in the future.”

It also states the treaty “does not contain an obligation” for member states to provide Ukraine military assistance, or obliges EU countries to give “additional financial support”.

The treaty also does not give Ukrainians the right to work in the EU, Thursday's text clarifies. It also says the “fight against corruption is central to enhancing the relationship” between the EU and Ukraine.

Rutte said it somewhat more direct: “Ukraine has to work hard” to fight corruption.

Not fun

The Dutch leader said the negotiation process since the referendum was “not fun, but necessary”. Rutte was “grateful” for the cooperation of his 27 colleagues, although he noted that he would have wished to wrap up negotiations earlier.

“This took too long. Partly because due to Brexit no one wanted to talk about this in the first few months,” he said.

Although a draft Monday text had not been changed, the discussion was still long.

“Nobody is happy with this piece of paper,” said one EU official.

“The problem is that it will be used by Russian trolls and enemies of Ukraine,” he said.

No guarantees for parliamentary majority

Rutte said he would propose ratification at Friday's weekly cabinet meeting.

But when asked which guarantees he could give the other member states that the Dutch parliament will also approve the deal, he said: “None.”

The centre-right Liberal leader needs the consent from at least two opposition parties, because his coalition lacks a majority in the Senate.

Three months before national elections, parties are not exactly exuberant at the prospect of going against the wishes of a majority, even if the voter turnout of the non-binding referendum was 32.2 percent.

Rutte also said he understood “this is not a vote winner”, but that a rejection of the Ukraine treaty would have been a “gift to Russia”.

The Dutch rooting for a No in the Ukraine referendum

Next week, the Dutch will cast their opinion on the EU-Ukraine association agreement. While the Yes side is fairly uniform in its composition and logic, the No side is a motley crew. Who are they?

EU close to face-saving deal on Ukraine

Dutch PM Rutte seeks solution to the No vote on EU-Ukraine treaty. Meanwhile, diplomats say there is a “consensus” on the roll-over of Russia sanctions.

Netherlands ratifies EU-Ukraine treaty

Dutch senate approves ratification, despite a majority of referendum voters expressing opposition last year. The Netherlands should show 'reliability', one senator said.

Opinion

EU can still end Rohingya ethnic cleansing

If European leaders speak and act now, there's a chance ethnic cleansing could end before the last Burmese Rohingya is killed, captured, or exiled.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  3. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  4. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  5. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  6. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  7. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  8. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  10. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year
  11. ILGA-EuropeMass Detention of Azeri LGBTI People - the LGBTI Community Urgently Needs Your Support
  12. European Free AllianceCatalans Have Won the Right to Have an Independent State

Latest News

  1. Malta shocked after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  2. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off
  3. May pleads for more as EU makes Brexit gesture
  4. EU united in backing Iran deal, after Trump criticisms
  5. 'Think of the patients!' cry warring EMA-host cities
  6. In Iceland: Europe woos Arctic allies
  7. Austrian voters reject liberal pro-EU status quo
  8. Turkey urges EU not to break off ties