European leaders say they will continue partnership with Ukraine despite Dutch 'no' vote
France and Germany will continue to back an EU agreement on closer ties with Ukraine, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday (APril 8) after Dutch voters rejected the pact in a referendum.
"As far as Europe is concerned, it will implement what it can of this association agreement and as far as France and Germany are concerned - Angela reminded me of our responsibility in the Normandie format - we will continue to support Ukraine and apply the association agreement in our respective countries," Hollande said after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Metz eastern France.
"We of course have every interest that Ukraine's way continuously brings it towards the EU," Merkel said in a separate news conference.
She then added the Netherlands will work with the European institutions to find a solution.
Dutch voters overwhelmingly rejected a Ukraine-European Union treaty this week on closer political and economic ties, in a rebuke to their government and to the European Union establishment.
The broad political, trade and defence treaty, which had already been signed by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government and approved by all other European Union nations as well as Ukraine, took effect provisionally in January.
Although the referendum was non-binding, Rutte acknowledged late on Wednesday it was politically impossible for his unpopular government to ratify the treaty in its current form.
However, as the Dutch currently hold the EU's rotating presidency, he will need time to figure out whether and how he can alter the treaty in a way that could satisfy all parties.
Reporting by Reuters