Dutch Scrambling To Resolve EU-Ukraine Pact Row: Rutte


Dutch scrambling to resolve EU-Ukraine pact row: Rutte

THE HAGUE, Dec 9, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 09th Dec, 2016 ) : The Dutch government is scrambling to negotiate a binding compromise over an EU-Ukraine pact ahead of a European summit next week, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Friday.

But the under-fire premier warned that his government may have to submit a law withdrawing his country's support for the treaty to back closer ties between Brussels and Kiev if no solution to the standoff is found.

"We are working full-steam behind the scenes to find a binding solution to the 'no' vote for the EU-Ukraine agreement," Rutte told journalists. "It's a complex process and we haven't found a solution yet." Rutte has been walking a political tightrope since an April referendum organised by Dutch eurosceptic groups in which -- despite a low turnout -- 60 percent of those who voted rejected the EU's cooperation accord with Kiev.

Rutte told the Financial Times in an interview published Friday that he wants "legally binding guarantees" at Thursday's EU summit to ensure the pact "will not create a defence guarantee" for Ukraine or be a step towards EU membership.

The Netherlands is the only one of the 28-member bloc yet to ratify the accord, which aims to boost political dialogue with Kiev as well as economic and trade cooperation. The status of the accord -- particularly relating to the Dutch issue -- will top the agenda at Thursday's talks in Brussels, with other subjects such as migration and the continent's security.

The Dutch premier, who is under fire at home for not heeding the outcome of the consultative referendum, warned that The Netherlands may pull the plug on the pact should an agreement not be reached at the summit. "If no answer is found we'll decide next Friday on tabling legislation to withdraw," from the pact, Rutte told reporters Friday.