EU-Ukraine Association Agreement: obvious and hidden motives of Hague

Author : Oleksandr Snidalov

Is agreement between Ukraine and the EU stuck due to lack of political will of Mark Rutte?
20:02, 1 November 2016

 Read thr original text at

Those who follow the latest news from the Netherlands, could have the impression that the government lacks courage of resolve issue on ratification of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. Dutch media last month were actively writing about indecisive position of prime minister.

Let us try to understand whether the agreement between Ukraine and the EU get stuck due to lack of political will of Mark Rutte. And also did the visit of Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin to the Netherlands have impact on this story.

Related: Klimkin: Russia tries to tear Europe appart

A few weeks ago the Dutch parliament ordered the government to make a proposal for ratification of the Association Agreement not later than November 1. Premier may make a proposal on ratification of Agreement with Ukraine or reject it.

Related: European Parliament may consider visa-free regime for Ukraine after November 7

Dutch parliament consists of two chambers - the Lower and Upper - and the proposals made by the government should be supported them both. If the Lower House of the government coalition of VVD and PvdA has a majority, then the top for most coalition members lack 17 votes. The deficit worsened after the recent elections held in May 2015, where the government party lost 9 seats.

So it is not the desire of premiere Rutte to keep his own rating before the next election.

Related: Council of Europe intends to support reforms in Ukraine

Government coalition banal just does not have enough votes. Not all parliamentary parties - even among those who supported the Association in winter - are willing to risk election for ratification of the agreement with Ukraine.

And the Dutch press relies on party members that would support their premiere.

Related: No voting for visa-free regime on European parliament’s agenda

The fact that MPs vote against the leader's position will be a blow to the reputation of the party. It cannot be assumed six months before planned parliamentary elections, which are currently VVD leader.

During this week a variety of configurations "temporary coalition" were discussed that would have enough votes to ratify the agreement.

According to the newspaper Trouw, D66is ready to support an agreement with Ukraine. "The results of a consultative referendum to be considered. But if Rutte can arrange support for ratification of the agreement, we are always ready to consider this agreement," said, in particular, the representative of the party.

Related: Schulz: European Parliament is on Ukraine’s side

So the simplest option would be a joint vote of VVD, PvdA. D66 and CDA. This powerful alliance with the stock would provide the necessary votes in the upper house. But the only support of D66 is not enough.

Their colleagues from the CDA, despite the advantage of their own supporters associations of voters (which is almost the same as the D66) are still hesitant and rather minded to vote against.

Meanwhile Rutte uses a wider palette of arguments agitating MPs. Rutte is not alone in trying to save the association.

Related: Russia systematically aims to destabilize political order in Europe, - Macierewicz

A few days ago in an interview with De Telegraaf ratification of the association agreement was supported by Bernard Bot, former Dutch foreign minister in the cabinet of Jan Belkenende, who was in office during the Orange Revolution. Bernard is a member of the CDA party and appealed to his fellow party members in rather sharp form to support ratification of the agreement.

"I will do everything to bring to life the people in key positions (in the party). I have to make a few calls. As a European, I know how important this type of agreement the EU and how important it is that we, as a member state, were credible. This rule applies to all: the one who broke must adjust it," said the former minister.

Political columnist Arjan Noorlander adds that the leader of the Dutch Christian Democrats (CDA) and the Christian Democrats is under pressure from other countries, especially Germany, who are consistent supporters of the Association Agreement with Ukraine.

Related: NATO describes rotation of forces in Eastern Europe

Another party, the majority of its voters in March 2016 supported the association - GroenLinks - said that until there is nothing new in the arguments of Rutte, it adheres to the position that corresponds to the result of a consultative referendum.

At the same time, the leader of the ChristenUnie, Gert Jan Sehers, said that his party "keeps the door open" and is ready to discuss options. Therefore, the second option, which is discussed in the press of the Netherlands is ratification without the support of CDA, joint vote of VVD, PvdA, D66, GroenLinks, and ChristenUnie.

It is worth mentioning the visit of Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin to the Netherlands, which took place on 27 October. This visit by Dutch media covered much more quickly than before the arrival of the referendum nearly a year ago. The list of his meetings, included almost all online publications of the country, we can conclude that the main purpose of the visit were negotiations with some parliamentary parties.

Related: Schulz: Euro Parliament has stable majority for introduction of visa-free regime with Ukraine

Speaking about the print media only Algemeen Dagblad highlighted the visit, the third edition of the daily edition in the Netherlands. But the lack of attention from the press hard to believe negative because of the sensitivity of the case. Actually, the fact of his arrival in the Netherlands on the eve of the vote on the ratification of the first president, and then the top officials of the Ukrainian government is eloquent and speaks not so much about the priorities of Ukraine's foreign policy, but about the readiness for active actions to protect these priorities.

Related: Closed sky: why Ukraine has not joined European Common Aviation Area?

It is too early to assess the success of these negotiations; CDA is still quite careful in the statements and does not post on its website any communiqué on ratification. Instead D66 commented on its possible solution in a very positive spirit.

Attention to the issue of ratification is so great that other topics visit of the media are not mentioned.

However, Natalia Klimkina - the first secretary of the Embassy of the political and cultural issues - published on the Facebook information on other topics raised during the talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

Related: European Commission supports introduction of visa-free regime with Ukraine

In particular - the "preservation of Ukrainian national identity abroad." "The Minister appealed to the Dutch colleagues to consider the opportunity to Ukrainian Saturday school in the Dutch education system. Thus, children who are taught in Dutch schools will be able to choose the Ukrainian language as a foreign language and make it to a certificate on completion of training," said diplomat. Also, she said, the two sides "discussed the possibility of free exchange of Ukrainian driver's licenses for the Dutch one, for those who live and work in the Netherlands."

These issues are perhaps far from high politics, but are really important for the Ukrainian community in the Netherlands.

Related: "Friends of European Ukraine" suggest to involve US into Normandy Four

Система Orphus

If you find an error, highlight the desired text and press Ctrl + Enter, to tell about it

see more