Prime minister Mark Rutte isn’t hopeful about negotiating a Dutch exemption to an EU trade treaty with Ukraine, NOS reported on Tuesday night.
In the first ever ‘people’s referendum’ in April, 62% of voters said no to the association agreement, even though it had already been passed by the 28 EU countries and was provisionally in force.
But Rutte said he needed time to respond to the ‘advisory’ vote and has now told the Dutch parliament that after talking about modifying the treaty with the European Council, he is ‘not delighted’ with their response.
He has been trying to change segments on the fight against corruption and a commitment that Ukraine will not join the EU, but admitted that even without a Dutch ratification, the treaty will prevail.
‘Then the no voters will be just as annoyed,’ he said.
But MP Louis Bontes, one of the people behind the referendum vote – which was called for by more than 300,000 signatories last year – responded ‘no is no.’
He filed a motion of no confidence, which was invalid as there were only 17 people present. The vote is being re-held on Wednesday.
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