EU Observer | 8 June 2016
Dutch target June summit for talks on EU-Ukraine deal
By Peter Teffer
The Dutch government wants to discuss its voters’ rejection of the EU-Ukraine association agreement at an EU summit in Brussels in three weeks’ time, foreign minister Bert Koenders has said.
“The government intends to discuss the association agreement and the result of the referendum at the upcoming European Council of 28 and 29 June,” he told members of the Dutch parliament in a letter on Tuesday (7 June).
Two months ago, 61.1 percent of voters who showed up at a national referendum on the trade and political deal voted No, leaving full ratification of the treaty in disarray. All other EU member states had already ratified the text.
Koenders said that the Netherlands had already spoken at EU level and in bilateral talks about the Dutch No, but “no agreements were made about the content or scope of a possible solution”.
Earlier, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte had said that he would not present a policy response to the No vote before the UK has had its referendum, about whether or not to stay a member of the bloc.
A week after the Dutch vote, Rutte said he felt that his European colleagues wanted the UK in-out referendum “out of the way first” before the Dutch referendum could be fully discussed.
If the British do vote to leave the EU, a large portion of the 28-28 June summit will certainly be devoted to that issue. Migration, the economy and cooperation with Nato are also on the agenda.
While the Netherlands holds the rotating six-month EU presidency until the end of this month, it is EU Council president Donald Tusk who determines the agenda.
The Ukraine deal is currently not yet on the official draft agenda.