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Netherlands: MPs express anger as Dutch PM delays Ukraine deal decision02:01

Netherlands: MPs express anger as Dutch PM delays Ukraine deal decision

Netherlands, The Hague
November 1, 2016 at 20:07 GMT +00:00 · Published

Members of the Lower House expressed their discontent after it became clear that Prime Minister Mark Rutte had once again delayed a decision on ratifying the EU-Ukraine association agreement, in The Hague on Tuesday. On Monday, Rutte sent a letter to the parliament in which he announced a delay of one and a half months to the deal, which the Dutch people rejected in a referendum earlier in the year.

Emile Roemer, group chairman of the Socialist Party (SP), said "if the politicians don't want to listen to the people, why do they organise a referendum?" He urged a plenary debate on the issue for next week and was followed by all parties of the Lower House, including the VVD of Rutte.

Speaking to the Upper House later in the evening, Rutte repeated his explanation of why the deal was important, saying that "the Dutch non-ratification would directly help Moscow and certainly, as we see it, Russian foreign policy is becoming increasingly offensive and aimed at interfering with other countries."

In 2014, the EU and Ukraine signed an Association Agreement on, among other issues, justice, freedom, security and economic and financial cooperation. In April this year, the Netherlands held a referendum resulting in a rejection of the ratification of the deal. It is now the only EU state which has not signed the agreement.

Netherlands: MPs express anger as Dutch PM delays Ukraine deal decision02:01
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Members of the Lower House expressed their discontent after it became clear that Prime Minister Mark Rutte had once again delayed a decision on ratifying the EU-Ukraine association agreement, in The Hague on Tuesday. On Monday, Rutte sent a letter to the parliament in which he announced a delay of one and a half months to the deal, which the Dutch people rejected in a referendum earlier in the year.

Emile Roemer, group chairman of the Socialist Party (SP), said "if the politicians don't want to listen to the people, why do they organise a referendum?" He urged a plenary debate on the issue for next week and was followed by all parties of the Lower House, including the VVD of Rutte.

Speaking to the Upper House later in the evening, Rutte repeated his explanation of why the deal was important, saying that "the Dutch non-ratification would directly help Moscow and certainly, as we see it, Russian foreign policy is becoming increasingly offensive and aimed at interfering with other countries."

In 2014, the EU and Ukraine signed an Association Agreement on, among other issues, justice, freedom, security and economic and financial cooperation. In April this year, the Netherlands held a referendum resulting in a rejection of the ratification of the deal. It is now the only EU state which has not signed the agreement.

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