Europe

Dutch government prepares to ratify EU-Ukraine deal

  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks during a news conference at an EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. European Union leaders have reached a compromise with the Netherlands that will allow the bloc to enact an agreement on closer ties with Ukraine. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks during a news conference at an EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. European Union leaders have reached a compromise with the Netherlands that will allow the bloc to enact an agreement on closer ties with Ukraine. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrives for an EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. European Union leaders meet Thursday in Brussels to discuss defense, migration, the conflict in Syria and Britain's plans to leave the bloc. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrives for an EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. European Union leaders meet Thursday in Brussels to discuss defense, migration, the conflict in Syria and Britain's plans to leave the bloc. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks during a news conference at an EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. European Union leaders have reached a compromise with the Netherlands that will allow the bloc to enact an agreement on closer ties with Ukraine. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks during a news conference at an EU Summit in Brussels on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. European Union leaders have reached a compromise with the Netherlands that will allow the bloc to enact an agreement on closer ties with Ukraine. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

The Netherlands' government has prepared legislation clearing the way for Parliament to vote on ratifying an EU-Ukraine free trade pact, despite Dutch voters rejecting the deal in a referendum.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Friday his Cabinet is sending the legislation to the Council of State, a body that advises the government on new laws.

The swift action came less than a day after European Union leaders agreed to Rutte's request for legally binding assurances including that the pact, which has been ratified by all other 27 member states, is not a stepping stone to EU membership.

The bill must still be approved by the Dutch House of Representatives and Senate. Rutte says he will have to work hard to ensure it passes both chambers.