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Five European countries block Ukraine's path to EU membership — newspaper

Five EU countries, including the Netherlands, believe that the EU association agreement with Ukraine should not incorporate a notion of full EU membership for that country, French diplomat Pierre Vermont said on Friday.

Vermont told the Volkskrant newspaper that the question of possible EU membership for Ukraine had been raised in the European Union many times but the discussion was always the same.

"A group of countries, including the Baltic States, Poland, Britain and Sweden, wanted to include a clause on the prospect of future EU membership for Ukraine in the final document," the French diplomat said. "But a second group of countries consisting of France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Austria, was opposed to the idea. They refused to give any promises for the future to Ukraine," Vermont went on to say.

A day earlier, on Thursday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in an interview with the information portal that his country was also against the EU membership for Ukraine.

According to him, it is important that Ukraine eventually has good relationship with both the EU and Russia, and that is unlikely to happen if Ukraine becomes an EU member.

The Netherlands will vote in a referendum on ratification of the association agreement between the EU and Ukraine on April 6 (the referendum will be consultative, which means that its results will not be mandatory for implementation by the Dutch government).

According to Vermont, a "no" vote could mean that the agreement will be divided into separate parts. "The trade agreement only requires a majority vote. The political part, for which unanimity is required, can be poured into a separate treaty", in which the Netherlands does not have to take part.

[Source: Itar Tass, The Hague, 01Apr16]

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