Parliamentary majority supports PM Rutte's Ukraine deal compromise

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Prime Minister Mark Rutte got support from a majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament for amendments he wants to add to the association agreement between the European Union and Ukraine so that the Netherlands can ratify it. In the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday the VVD, PvdA, D66 and GroenLinks supported his solution, NOS reports.

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, already approved the association agreement. But when a majority voted against the agreement in a referendum last year, a solution had to be sought. The Netherlands is currently the only EU country who hasn't ratified the agreement yet.

Rutte came up with a compromise in which amendments would be added to the treaty to ease the no-voters' concerns about the treaty. These amendments include that the treaty is not a stepping stone for the Ukraine to become a EU Member State and that it does not bind EU countries to provide military support to Ukraine, among other things.

The leaders of other EU countries already agreed to these amendments. Now that the Tweede Kamer gave the go ahead, it is only the Senate that still has to consider them. It is not yet clear whether a majority in the Eerste Kamer will vote for the amendments. According to NOS, the CDA plays a clear role here. In the Tweede Kamer, the CDA voted against the amendments, but it is possible that the CDA senators will support the compromise.

It is unlikely that this will happen before the elections on March 15th. It takes on average about three months for a bill to pass through the Eerste Kamer.