Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely those of the writer and may not be regarded as stating an official position of the Council of the EU.
Clause de non-responsabilité: Les avis exprimés n engagent que leur auteur et ne peuvent être considérés comme une position officielle du Conseil de l UE.
PROPOSAL FOR A LEGALLY BINDING DECISION
ADOPTING A COMMON UNDERSTANDING
ON THE EU-UKRAINE ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT
Following the referendum in April 2016 in the Netherlands, the Conclusions of the
European Council of June 2016 stated:
"The Dutch Prime Minister presented the outcome of the referendum in the
Netherlands on the Association Agreement with the Ukraine as well as the concerns
expressed in the debate preceding the referendum. The European Council invites
the Council to seek a solution addressing these concerns as soon as possible".
The Dutch Prime Minister informed the European Council on 20-21 October 2016 of the
state of the issue. He signalled his awareness of the implications that a negative decision
by the Netherlands as regards ratification would have for the European Union, its Member
States and Ukraine, as parties to the Agreement.
On 31 October Prime Minister Rut e wrote to the President of the Dutch House of
Representatives referring to the need for "a legally binding solution…that did justice to the
and stating that the "most suitable form for a legally binding solution would be a
decision by the heads of state and government, assembled in the European Council"
Form of the Proposed Decision
It is proposed that a decision be adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the
Member States of the European Union meeting within the European Council on 15
This would be a legally binding decision of the Heads of State and Government setting out
their common understanding
of certain aspects of the Association Agreement with
Ukraine. It would not amend, modify or supplement the obligations set out in that
Agreement nor would it purport to be a free-standing international agreement. It would not
be subject to either signature or ratification by Member States. It would only take effect
once the agreement enters into force fol owing ratification by the Netherlands and
conclusion by the Union.
Content of the Proposed Decision
The proposed decision would seek to address the five elements set out in the letter of 31
October from Prime Minister Rutte:
"The decision must state that the Association Agreement is not a first step to
membership of the EU and does not confer any rights to such membership. The
decision must also make clear that the agreement implies no col ective security
guarantee for Ukraine and imposes no obligation on the member states with regard
to military cooperation. Furthermore the decision must explicitly state that Ukrainian
workers are not being given access to the EU labour market and that member
states wil not be compelled to provide financial support to Ukraine. The decision
also have to contain a provision to the effect that strengthening the rule of law, and
particularly fighting corruption, is a central element of the agreement".
The decision would not deal with any other matter.