02:09 GMT +321 March 2018
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    Dutch member of the Socialist Party (SP) Harry van Bommel hands out flyers against a referendum on the association treaty with Ukraine, in The Hague, on April 5, 2016

    Thanks for Not Coming: Dutch Gov't May Need Assurance Against Ukraine Joining EU

    © AFP 2018/ Bart Maat / ANP
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    What Kiev considers as the first step toward EU membership is in fact likely to become a barrier.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — The Netherlands may ask for the EU-Ukrainian association agreement to guarantee that the Eastern European country will not join the bloc, a diplomatic source in Brussels told RIA Novosti Tuesday.

    "Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte is now looking into options of how to persuade his political opponents in the Senate to ratify the association agreement with Ukraine. One of the options is an appendix to the agreement stating that its coming into force is not the first step toward Ukraine's membership in the European Union," the source said.

    On Monday, Rutte assured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that the Netherlands would continue to look into solutions to the impasse as the government delayed its final decision. The country's parliament expects a declaration of the government's position on the matter later on Tuesday. The government may submit a bill refusing to support the treaty or continue consultations with opposition parties into December.

    In 2014, the European Union signed an agreement with Ukraine to deepen political association and economic integration. Ukraine had to implement a series of political and economic reforms to gain free-trade access to the EU market.

    In April, the Netherlands held a referendum, in which 61 percent of Dutch voters rejected the ratification of the deal. Currently, the Netherlands is the only EU state that has not yet ratified the agreement.


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