Saturday 22 January 2022

Dutch prime minister wins more time to negotiate Ukraine treaty deal

Photo: Europa.eu

Photo: Europa.eu

MPs have given prime minister Mark Rutte six more weeks to come up with a solution for the Dutch no vote on the EU treaty with Ukraine.

Rutte had pledged to finalise the government’s reaction by November 1 but last week made an urgent appeal to opposition MPs to support him. He now wants to win support from other EU leaders to tack a separate declaration to the treaty which would make the Dutch doubts clear.

The declaration would state that that the Ukraine treaty is not a stepping stone to Ukraine joining the EU and that Ukraine nationals do not have access to the European labour market. The declaration would also make it clear that there will be no military alliance with Ukraine and no financial support.

Ireland used a similar construction after it rejected the Lisbon treaty in 2009.

Opposition

If EU leaders agree to the Dutch compromise, the Netherlands would able to ratify the treaty, which was rejected in April’s referendum. If the Netherlands fails to ratify the treaty, it could have serious implications for the stability of Europe, the prime minister said last week.

According to news agency ANP, Rutte will be able to count on the support of the Liberal democrats D66 to get the revised treaty approved in the lower house of parliament. However, Christian Democrat backing will be needed to ensure it passes in the senate.

CDA leader Sybrand Buma, who opposes the concept of referendums, has not yet said whether his party will support the government’s position.

Rutte hopes to finalise EU support for the declaration during mid December’s summit.

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