With Trump's election, Dutch PM told to ratify Ukraine deal

Russia's Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovich
Months before the Russian invasion of Crimea, Ukraine leader Viktor Yanukovich and Russian President Vladimir Putin sign an agreement to celebrate the life of dissident author Taras Shevchenko. Dec. 17 2013photo: Russia's Presidential Press and Information Office / Wikimedia Commons

The Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) called upon Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte to push through ratification of a European Union agreement with the Ukraine. The deal, rejected by Dutch voters in a non-binding referendum, includes policy on energy, economics, labour rights and free travel across borders.

“A Netherlands refusal to ratify the agreement would play into the hands of the Russians, and this can encourage the serious players in the region to challenge the EU,” the AIV wrote in a draft of the document. Contrarily, by approving the deal, the Netherlands will help build closer ties to the Ukraine and prevent the appearance of a divided European Union on eastern European policy.

This is critically important in light of the election in the U.S. of Donald J. Trump as the country’s next president, the AIV said. The AIV alluded to Trump’s relationship with Putin, without directly addressing it, while saying that the president-elect has not unveiled his full foreign policy.

“It should be equally taken into account the possibility that America is prepared to reach practical arrangements with authoritarian political leaders, including President Putin, going around the leaders of European countries,” the AIV said.

“The risk of renewed pressure by Russia [against Ukraine] has only grown in uncertainty with the uncertainty of the future American make-up after the election of Donald J. Trump,” the AIV later wrote.

Though independent, the AIV was formed by the Dutch parliament ten years ago to combine three different advisory boards.

Ultimately, Rutte’s catering to the “no” vote in the Netherlands lead to a failure to implement the EU’s deal with the Ukraine, thus preventing the improvement of stabilization in the Ukraine.