The EU leaders agreed to the terms of the Netherlands made by it to the Association agreement between the EU and Ukraine entered into force. The decision was made on Thursday, December 15, at the summit of the European Council (meeting of heads of state and government of the EU).
EU leaders guaranteed Niceland that the Association Agreement with Ukraine will give the country the status of candidate for membership in the Union and the membership, it will not oblige the EU to grant Ukraine collective security guarantees and military assistance, and do not give Ukrainian citizens the right to live and work in the EU, it does not limit the member countries of the EU to resolve these issues with Kiev on a bilateral level. The agreement does not contain obligations for the provision of financial assistance by the EU to Ukraine, according to the text of the adopted Declaration of the summit.
Rutte before the start of the summit, said his government need assurance that an agreement will not lead to Ukraine’s gaining membership in the EU, to achieve ratification in the Parliament.
The European Council in a statement on the discussions on Ukraine also confirmed its commitment to the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the need to complete the conclusion of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. The Council urged all parties involved to complete the procedures, which will allow to cancel visas to the EU for citizens of Ukraine and Georgia.
The Netherlands remained the only one of the 31 parties to the agreement (the EU, Ukraine and the European institutions), which ratified the Association agreement prevented this held in April referendum. But its results are not legally binding and can be cancelled by decision of the Parliament. For this, however, could emulate the reputational consequences for the government. According to Rutte, the agreement with EU leaders on the protection of the interests of the Netherlands increase the chance of successful passage of the agreement through Parliament.
In addition, on December 15 the European Parliament approved rules for the suspension of visa-free regime for citizens of “third countries”. The mechanism can be used in four cases: if it is serious, a growing number of refusals to citizens of these countries travelling to the EU; if a growing number of unfounded applications for refugee status; if the authorities of the “third parties” refuse to cooperate in the repatriation; if the growing risks of internal security in the EU, associated with citizens of “third countries”.
The decision of the European Parliament on the mechanism of “rolling back” the visa-free regime — the penultimate step before the complete abolition of visas for partners of the EU. The last step is the vote in the European Parliament on specific States. For example, a plenary session on Ukraine scheduled for April 3, 2017, Georgia — February 2, 2017. After this vote, the final decision must pass the approval of the Council of Europe.
How was the provisional programme of the summit, the heads of state and government of the EU discussed the ratification by the Netherlands of the Association agreement EU-Ukraine: “the Leaders will try without changing the document text, to find a solution that would pave the way for the adoption of the document and the Netherlands, while respecting the outcome of the referendum”.
At the beginning of April in the Netherlands held a referendum for the adoption of a pan-European agreement with Ukraine. The vote held on the initiative of the nationalists, who used the new law on referendums in other EU countries the document was accepted by the Parliament.
In the end, with a very low (but sufficient for a referendum) turnout 32% more than 61% of the Dutch voted against the agreement. The Netherlands remains the last member of the EU, which must ratify the agreement before it will sign the EU Council, and it will legally enter into force.
In summer, Prime Minister Rutte, demanded a “legally binding decision” that can protect national interests of the Netherlands in the case of the adoption agreement — like changing the text and without it.
In late November summit of EU — Ukraine, where it was announced that the text of the agreement to reform will not, and visa-free regime will be formalized before the end of the year. However, in early December, the Dutch government again demanded to change the text of the document: namely, to eliminate therefrom the provision on military and financial aid to Kiev.