Wednesday, 29 June 2016 - 10:40
Dutch PM wants to change EU treaty with Ukraine
Prime Minister Mark Rutte wants to change the association agreement between the European Union and the Ukraine in such a way that the concerns of the Dutch who voted against the agreement are alleviated. He is not sure whether this will be possible, but will make every effort to see whether it is, NOS reports. Dutch voters voted against the Netherlands ratifying the association agreement with the Ukraine in a referendum on April 6th. Other EU countries already ratified the agreement. On Tuesday EU leaders gave Rutte some time to see what to do about the outcome of the referendum. The results of the agreement is not binding on the Dutch government. But does put the government in a difficult position - it does not want to ignore the voters, but also does not want to stand alone in Europe. "The problem is that if we do not sign, the others countries will continue and the Netherlands will be left out. However, signing without paying attention to the Dutch no is very difficult", Rutte said, according to the broadcaster. He fears that any compromise they come up with will leave either the EU or the no-voters unhappy. "We're going to try", he said, adding that the Netherlands won't ratify the agreement if no solution is found. "Again, if it does not succeed we will not sign." To an accusation that the government would make the no-vote disappear into a kind of Brussels bureaucracy he responded: "What do you think. I can't just magic the result of the referendum away."