Netherlands rejects EU-Ukraine partnership deal

AMSTERDAM, 7th April, 2016 (WAM) - Voters in the Netherlands have rejected in a referendum an EU partnership deal to remove trade barriers with Ukraine.

Turnout was low, 32.2%, but above the 30% threshold for the vote to be valid. The deal was rejected by 61.1% of votes, compared with 38.1% in favour.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the government may have to reconsider the deal, although the vote is not binding.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko insisted his country would "continue our movement towards the EU".

A foreign ministry official in Kiev told the BBC that the result was disappointing, adding that Dutch Eurosceptics could not take Ukraine hostage to express dissatisfaction with the EU.

The vote was widely seen in the Netherlands as a test of public opinion towards the EU.

The Netherlands is now the only member in the 28-nation EU not to have ratified the Ukraine accord which has already been given the thumbs-up by both the upper and lower houses of the Dutch parliament.


WAM/tfaham