At the EU Summit this Thursday, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte managed to push through his amendments to the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, essentially reducing it to a unilateral submission accord in which Ukraine is forced to open its markets and comply with EU regulations while receiving virtually nothing in return.
— No membership or candidate status in the EU.
— No financial assistance from the EU.
— No military aid or security guarantees from the EU.
— Not even EU residence or work permits for Ukrainian citizens.
As it stands, the most Ukraine will get out of its blood-soaked association deal with the European Union is a visa free regime for tourists. Here too, however, the final decision has been postponed to the spring of next year, despite earlier promises that it would happen by the end of 2016.
Ukraine’s President Poroshenko, an oligarch who in 2014 was swept to power following a violent West-backed coup that ousted his predecessor Victor Yanukovich for refusing to sign this same agreement, obviously didn’t complain. He was happy with the bread crumbs his country received, welcoming the compromise as a ‘necessary step’ towards securing the deal.
Amendments to the agreement became necessary after the people of the Netherlands voted overwhelmingly against its ratification in a national referendum on April 6 of this year.
Unless ratified by the Dutch parliament, the agreement, which was signed back in 2014 and has since been ratified by all the other 27 members of the EU, cannot enter into force.
While according to Reuters, Prime Minister Rutte is now confident of winning a majority for the compromise in both houses of the Dutch parliament, a report by the Daily Express talks of fury among the Dutch voters and opposition leaders, who say that their vote has been snubbed.
Via Daily Express:
Parliamentarian Louis Bontes of Groep Bontes/Van Klaveren said on Twitter: “With this deal the unreliable Rutte is not taking away the concerns. This deal is an afront to the NO-voter.”
Jan Roos, leader of Voor Nederland, tweeted: “The only substantive answer to no is no!”
SP leader Emile Roemer tweeted: “Rutte made a deal? We already had a deal! NO = NO.”
Party leader Gert-Jan Segers said: ”For the ChristenUnie the priority is that the government must do right to the no-voice that sounded in April.
“For us it is doubtful whether this agreement does that. We will debate it with the government next week and then give our judgement.”
With the Dutch parliamentary elections scheduled for March 15 of next year, Rutte’s party faces fierce competition from more anti-European parties that say the Ukraine deal must be dropped following the referendum vote.
Clearly, Rutte’s attempt to bypass the vote of the people won’t help him or his party on March 15.