RFE/RL | 7 July 2016
EU rejects changes in Ukraine association pact for Dutch voters
The European Union will not make any changes in its association agreement with Ukraine to address Dutch voters’ concerns, but may issue a declaration clarifying that the agreement brings Ukraine no closer to membership, EU diplomats said.
A majority in the Netherlands voted against the Ukraine trade and association agreement in a nonbinding referendum in April, making the Netherlands the only EU member not to ratify the agreement.
Jan Tombinski, head of the EU delegation to Ukraine, told reporters in Kyiv on July 6 that European leaders at a summit late last month told Dutch leaders that they should not propose any change in the association agreement’s text that would force other EU members to have to ratify the agreement again.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at the time he was seeking "legally binding" assurances that the EU would address Dutch voters’ concerns.
Rather than change the agreement itself, EU leaders offered to issue a declaration clarifying that the agreement does not bring Ukraine any closer to EU membership, diplomats said.
Rutte was asked to come up with language for such a declaration, and bring it back for consideration at future EU summits, Tombinski and other EU diplomats said.