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Dutch to demand limits on Ukraine deal at EU summit

Nevertheless, diplomats expect a deal.

Dutch to demand limits on Ukraine deal at EU summit
Photo: Depositphotos\julia_berezovska

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will ask European Union leaders on Thursday to rule out Ukraine joining the bloc for now and to place clear limits on the rewards they offer Kiev under a landmark cooperation agreement, diplomatic sources told Reuters.

A draft document for the EU leaders to approve, prepared by the Dutch and seen by Reuters, also rules out financial or security guarantees for Ukraine and spells out that Ukrainians are not being given the right to live and work in the bloc.

While these were not specifically promised to Ukraine in the agreement, the Dutch want them clearly placed off-limits in order to reassure their voters.

The association agreement is being provisionally applied but the Dutch have said they will strike it down unless their requirements are met. The Netherlands is the only EU state not to have ratified the accord.

The Dutch are therefore seeking a legally binding decision by the 28 EU leaders that the association agreement is "not a stepping stone" to EU membership for Kiev, one source said. This is not to the liking of Poland, a key supporter of Ukraine.

According to Reuters, diplomats expect a deal, even if some governments - especially Ukraine's close allies in eastern Europe - are concerned and irritated by the Dutch demands. EU ambassadors were discussing the issue further on Monday in Brussels.