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 Dutch PM calls on nation to support EU-Ukraine FTA

The Dutch government plans to campaign for a Yes in an upcoming referendum on the EU-Ukraine free-trade agreement.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, who currently holds the EU presidency, told press in Amsterdam on Thursday (7 January) the pact is good for Europe and good for the Netherlands, Censor.NET reports citing EUobserver.

Read more: Free Trade Area agreement between Ukraine and EU comes into effect

"I'll be out there and I'll be explaining to people why we signed this agreement … We are a trading nation. We live by free trade agreements and Ukraine is another example of this," he said.

"People who are inclined to vote No think it's a first step to EU membership. It has nothing to do with accession," he added.
Rutte said the whole government backs the Ukraine treaty.

His foreign minister, Bert Koenders, from the pro-EU PvdA party, said it serves Dutch security interests, by helping to stabilise the EU's eastern neighbourhood, and that it's "important for both our [Dutch and Ukrainian] economies."

Read more: EU-Ukraine Association Agreement ratified by all EU states, - Poroshenko

The referendum, to take place on April 6 following a petition organised by civil society, is non-binding. The treaty was ratified by Dutch MPs and promulgated by the Dutch King last year. It also entered into force Jan. 1.
 
 
 
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