BRUSSELS – European Union leaders are struggling to find a deal with the Netherlands to approve an association agreement with Ukraine.
A deal would allow the EU to show a united front in the face of an increasingly hostile Russia and boost trade and cooperation with an eastern European nation finding it hard to keep out of Moscow's sphere of influence.
The EU-Ukraine association agreement looked like a lock until the Dutch government was forced into a referendum on it early this year. The rejection left the EU in a bind since it needs unanimity.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte now wants an added text from the leaders assuring the deal will not lead to automatic EU membership to assuage his voters back home.