October 28, 2016
Netherlands about to sink EU-Ukraine association deal
The Netherland approaches a self-imposed deadline to take a position on the EU-Ukraine association agreement on November 1, next week. Mark Rutte has attempted but failed to gather support for adding a declaration to the agreement. The statement would deny Ukraine the prospect of EU membership, and would give the Netherlands an opt-out clause from military cooperation. Rutte's problem is that his VVD-PvdA coalition does not have a majority in the Eerste Kamer (upper house), even with the support of the left-liberal D66. The Christian democrat CDA, which among the opposition parties has the largest faction in the senate, remained steadfastly against the association agreement. According to NRC the opposition wants Rutte to first renegotiate with the EU and the other member states before submitting a proposal to the Dutch parliament. The government, however, finds that negotiating without getting a mandate from the parliament - and therefore with no guarantee that the result of the negotiation will be ultimately accepted at home - is a non-starter. As a result, Rutte is expected to propose to his cabinet today to introduce a motion to repeal the Dutch law ratifying the agreement, which has not come into force as a result of the negative referendum result in April.