Dutch lower house of parliament ratifies Association Agreement with Ukraine

 

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The Dutch lower house of parliament (House of Representatives) has officially confirmed the ratification of the Association Agreement with Ukraine. The voting took place this Thursday evening, a correspondent of Yevropeiska Pravda reported.

89 out of 150 deputies of the House voted in favor, 55 voted against. Unlike other issues on the agenda, voting for the Ukrainian question was done under a special procedure – each deputy had to answer whether he or she supports the ratification, after which the votes were counted.

Voting took place on the last possible day – on Friday, the House of Representatives stops working until elections take place and will resume work with a new composition.

This vote is not the final step of ratification. To complete the procedure, the upper house (Senate) should also vote in favor, after which the documents receive the signature of the King of The Netherlands and are sent to Brussels. Currently, the Senate has the majority of votes necessary to approve the agreement with Ukraine, and its composition will not change during the spring elections.

After the vote, the Parliament also considered, and rejected, a draft submitted by the leader of the Socialist Party Harry van Bommel, who proposed to oblige Ukraine to sign an additional document to the Association Agreement which would be an official answer to the referendum in which 61% of the voters were against signing the Association Agreement with Ukraine.

The Dutch referendum on the Association Agreement with Ukraine was held on 6 April 2016 and placed the status of the document, which had been approved by all other EU states, in limbo, and created a conundrum for the Dutch government, as well as for the EU, as it created an unprecedented situation when one member state compromised a political decision of the whole Union based on a popular referendum carried out under a populist campaign.

A decision on settling the conundrum was reached in December 2016, framed as a “Decision of the EU Heads of State or Government.” The decision outlined 6 items dedicated to the Association Agreement. However, they do not change the Agreement, but only confirms rules that were already in the text.

With reporting by Yevropeiska Pravda

 

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