Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said: “I hope the Dutch can get over their chagrin and say: ‘Yes, we are annoyed with Europe, we are annoyed with this Dutch government, but we will still support Ukraine.”
He also angered the Dutch public by saying that, even if they reject the deal, “the government position is that we will follow the law, which simply says we will reconsider”.
That remark has added to a growing impression that the government will seek to preserve the treaty, or its essence whatever the outcome, in direct defiance of democracy.
In 2005 Dutch voters broke from a pro-European tradition and rejected controversial plans for an all-encompassing EU constitution.
Their overwhelming no vote followed a similar verdict from French electorate just days earlier and led to the plan being scrapped, although Eurosceptics fear it is only a matter of time before Brussels revives it.