Thursday, 14 April 2016 - 13:55
Senate to force Netherlands out of Ukraine deal
The Dutch government may be forced by the Senate to remove its signature from the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine. The governing coalition of VVD and PvdA do not have a majority in the Senate, and all other parties seem set to vote for withdrawal from the deal. Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated that the cabinet will make a decision on what to do about the deal in June, Trouw reports. During a debate in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, on Wednesday Rutte told the parliamentarians that the Dutch government must first discuss the matter of the Netherlands voting "no" in the Ukraine referendum with other EU leaders. And that will only be possible after the British chose whether or not to leave the EU in their referendum on June 23rd. On Tuesday Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders stated that a decision can be expected by September. But this is not enough for the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, according to Trouw. All parties in the Eerste Kamer, except for the PvdA and VVD, want the Netherlands to withdraw from the association agreement with the Ukraine as soon as possible. "I do not envy the prime minister, but he will have to negotiate in Brussels from the position that the Netherlands has withdrawn its support for the agreement", GroenLinks faction leader Rik Grashoff said. He and a number of his fellows in the Eerste Kamer believe it the only way to show the Dutch population that their votes did not mean nothing. First exploring the possibilities and then only coming up with a solution in June "feeds discontent among citizens", According to SGP leader Kees van de Staaij.