Officials in The Netherlands warn it could take weeks to decide how to move forward
The Dutch government may be forced to rethink the ratification of Ukraine's treaty the E.U.
It's after the majority of voters rejected the idea at the ballot box on Wednesday, April 6.
61% of people at the polls voted against the pact, according to preliminary exit polls. The turnout stands at 32%, just above the threshold for the result to be recognised. Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has already spoken out. He says the negative outcome will not affect Ukraine's closer integration with Europe.
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko: "I'm confident this event is not a strategic obstacle on Ukraine's way to Europe. I want to responsibly say despite this, Ukraine will continue to implement the Association Agreement, providing a deep and comprehensive free trade area with the EU, as it is a way to modernize the Ukrainian state and strengthen its independence."
But Dutch officials say it is impossible to ignore the resounding 'against' result and warn it would take weeks to decide how to respond.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders: "We have to take a step by step approach. We have now to talk within the cabinet, with the parliament, with our European partners, also with the Ukraine, to see what the consequences of this decision might be."
The political, trade and defense treaty is already provisionally in place, but has to be ratified by all 28 EU member countries. The Netherlands is the only country that has not done so. Although the results were preliminary, they exposed dissatisfaction with the Dutch government and policy-making in Brussels - weeks before Britain votes on membership to the E.U.
With reporting from Reuters