Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said that his country is unlikely to sign off a trade deal between the EU and Ukraine given the negative outcome of the earlier non-binding referendum on this issue, according to The Financial Times.
Despite months of diplomatic efforts to come up with a solution, Mr Rutte told Dutch MPs on Thursday: ”I think that ultimately we will not ratify [the trade agreement],” according to FT.
The statement comes despite the fact that the Dutch referendum was of a non-binding nature and did not mean that the Dutch government had an obligation to follow suit.
In July 2015, the Dutch government completed the procedure of ratification of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement.
However, on April 6, 2016, a referendum was held in the Netherlands regarding the Deal. 61% of votes were cast against the move to sign off the agreement, with only 38% in favor.
The European Commission and Ukraine both await proposals from the Dutch government regarding further steps following the referendum.
”Mr Rutte expressed some optimism that the deal could carry on without the Netherlands, just involving the EU`s remaining 27 member states and Ukraine,” FT reports.