Dutch PM not optimistic on deal over EU-Ukraine partnership

  • World
  • Thursday, 20 Oct 2016

Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte greets his British counterpart Theresa May at the Ministry of General Affairs, The Hague, the Netherlands October 10, 2016. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was not optimistic of reaching a deal over the partnership between the European Union and Ukraine, which was rejected by Dutch voters in a referendum in April.

Rutte said this was because he needed various parties in Brussels, Ukraine and the Netherlands to agree, while also allaying Dutch voters' concerns.

"A solution here would need a majority in the Dutch parliament," Rutte said on arriving at a regular meeting of EU leaders in Brussels, where he is set to lay out possible solutions.

"To ask my colleagues to agree I need to be certain that such a solution has landing rights on all fronts and I'm not optimistic about that. Time is running out."

Rutte added that did not favour an easing sanction on Russia, another topic to be discussed by EU leaders on Thursday and Friday.

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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