: RFE/RL: E.U. rejects changes in Ukraine association pact for Dutch voters

09:34 Jul. 7, 2016

RFE/RL: E.U. rejects changes in Ukraine association pact for Dutch voters

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte arrives for a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. (GettyImages)

Any alterations in the document may lead to re-ratifying the agreement by E.U. member states

The European Union will not make any changes in its association agreement with Ukraine to address Dutch voters' concerns, but may issue a declaration clarifying that the agreement brings Ukraine no closer to membership, E.U. diplomats said.

Read also Ukraine won't accept changes to Association agreement – Foreign Minister

A majority in the Netherlands voted against the Ukraine trade and association agreement in a nonbinding referendum in April, making the Netherlands the only E.U. member not to ratify the agreement.

Jan Tombinski, head of the E.U. delegation to Ukraine, told reporters in Kyiv on July 6th that European leaders at a summit late last month told Dutch leaders that they should not propose any change in the association agreement's text that would force other E.U. members to have to ratify the agreement again.

Read also Netherlands to discuss referendum's results on Ukraine Association at E.U. summit

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at the time he was seeking "legally binding" assurances that the E.U. would address Dutch voters' concerns.

Rather than change the agreement itself, E.U. leaders offered to issue a declaration clarifying that the agreement does not bring Ukraine any closer to E.U. membership, diplomats said.

Read also WSJ: Dutch Prime Minister says EU's Ukraine pact must address his nation's concerns

Rutte was asked to come up with language for such a declaration, and bring it back for consideration at future E.U. summits, Tombinski and other E.U. diplomats said.

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