The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement has overcome its first hurdle in Dutch Parliament. On Thursday, February 23rd, the lower house of Dutch Parliament (officially the “Second Chamber”) approved a bill for ratification of the agreement by The Netherlands. The roll-call vote resulted in 89 voting in favor of the agreement and 55 against it.
Now the bill will go to the Senate. According to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the vote in the Senate will take place after March 15th, when elections for Parliament will be held in The Netherlands. The newspaper noted that approval of the bill may depend on the votes of a few senators from the Christian Democratic Appeal Party. Members of this party in the lower house voted against it.
In a referendum held in The Netherlands in April 2016, the majority of those who voted (61 percent) were opposed to the signing of the agreement with Ukraine, fearing that approval by the European Union would automatically open the door for Kyiv to qualify to receive funds from the EU budget. After long discussions, the government in The Hague offered a compromise to Brussels, that of adding to the agreement a number of conditions, the primary goal of which would preclude Ukraine from guaranteed admittance into the EU.