‘The Netherlands must review its EU military vision ’

Dutch Military
Photo credits: Ben Koorengevel

The Netherlands must focus much more on the European defence and security policy, the advisory council AIV reported. At the moment, NATO is still the cornerstone of Dutch defence policy. Therefore, it is desired that the Dutch government should link up with German-French initiatives ‘as much as possible’.

By request of the House of Representatives, the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) wrote a report on the optimal EU military organizational architecture in the light of international military developments. The report outlines a general overview of Europe’s military position and provides 10 recommendations for the Dutch government to review its strategy.

According to the Advisory Council, the Netherlands traditionally has a reserved position on the development of EU military capabilities. Under the leading military role of the United States it was a political decision to develop the Dutch defence policy in line with NATO efforts. However, due to upcoming threats, the British leaving the EU and with the United States withdrawing from the world stage, the Dutch government must review its position.

If the Netherlands wants to maintain its influence on European defence and security policy, “it is time for new steps”, concludes the AIV. As the AIV also noted, merely Paris and Berlin have the military capabilities to take a leading role within Europe and the Netherlands could contribute by its support for French-Germany European military initiatives. It should also support the development of EU’s military headquarter to coordinate joint military actions. More recommendations can be found here: Report AIV.

Terms such as ‘European Military’ or ‘European Defence’ won’t play too well in Dutch politics. It will still remain a question to what extent the Dutch are willing to move to a French-German proposed European Security Council.