December 14, 2018 (Google Translation) – The government has today approved the national plan for NATO. It states that the cabinet will determine in the coming spring where extra money will go from the state budget. The intention is, as part of that consideration, to invest extra in Defense.
Extra money for Defense is necessary because of the more unstable safety environment. There are more and more complex threats. Europe must also be better able to protect itself and to rely less on the United States.
That is why heads of state and government leaders at last year’s NATO Summit agreed to make clear this year how they will increase their defense spending by 2024. With this national plan, the cabinet will follow that agreement. Already in 2014, NATO allies decided to bring their defense spending to the NATO standard of 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 10 years.
“With this plan, the government is showing the current threats to be taken seriously. The Cabinet expresses the intention to invest in Defense. This is not a voluntary intention, because the Netherlands must take steps to remain a reliable ally. “, Says Minister of Defense Ank Bijleveld-Schouten.
More follow-up steps: staff
The priorities are only part of all NATO objectives for the Netherlands. More needs to be done at the armed forces and further steps are needed. These will be dealt with in the revised Defense Memorandum in 2020. It is not only about further meeting NATO’s demand for extra capacities, but also, for example, personnel, operational management, national security, knowledge and innovation.
The plan states that the Cabinet intends to invest in: extra F-35 fighter aircraft, expansion of firepower on land and at sea and reinforcement of the special forces and of the cyber and information domain. This allows the armed forces to be somewhere faster, to perform more forcefully and to last longer. The starting point for the prioritization is that every euro benefits the strength of both NATO and the EU. By investing in the priorities, something is also being done about the shortages at NATO and the EU.
Minister Bijleveld: “Trust in the organization must be restored. Not only to retain seated personnel, but also to recruit sufficient staff. This requires more than purchasing equipment. We realize that. However, this plan has been written to make clear to our allies how we will meet NATO’s capacity targets. ”
It is only through cooperation with NATO allies and European partners that the Netherlands can meet the threats. This involves both conventional threats on land, at sea, in the air and in space, as well as hybrid threats. Think of (dis) information, cyber attacks and operations in the electromagnetic spectrum, such as disturbing GPS signals.
The US has also made it clear that European NATO partners must take more responsibility for their own safety and must therefore make a fair contribution to the alliance. The contribution of the Netherlands, as a rich country, is currently still far below the average of the European NATO countries.