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Dutch PM Confident Parliament Will Pass EU-Ukraine Association Agreement

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he is confident parliament will approve a compromise he secured from other European Union leaders on an EU-Ukraine pact.

Rutte’s government on December 16 prepared legislation clearing the way for parliament to approve the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, despite the rejection of the trade pact by Dutch voters in an April advisory referendum.

The fresh legislation comes a day after EU leaders offered additional guarantees about the trade pact demanded by The Netherlands.

In a special statement, EU leaders who met in Brussels on December 15 said Ukraine’s Association Agreement "does not confer on Ukraine the status of a candidate country for accession to the union, nor does it constitute a commitment to confer such status to Ukraine in the future."

The statement also says the pact "does not contain an obligation for the union or its member states to provide collective security guarantees or other military aid or assistance to Ukraine."

The Netherlands is the only EU country that has not ratified the deal.

The trade pact is vital to Kyiv’s efforts to establish closer ties with the West since mass protests toppled pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in early 2014.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

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