Defence needs more money says minister

Foreign affairs minister Maxime Verhagen thinks the defence ministry needs more money if the Netherlands is to continue to play a part in world affairs, sources in The Hague told the Telegraaf on Monday.

Verhagen will say in a speech in Leiden on Monday evening that the extra money is necessary because of the changing international situation, the sources say. The UN, the IMF and the World Bank are losing power because important countries like India, China and Iran are openly questioning the authority of these organisations, the minister will say.
In addition, instability is increasing, making defence more important. The Netherlands should not just rely on NATO, but ensure good cooperation within Europe, sources quote Verhagen as saying.
His remarks come before the results of an government investigation into the defence budget, says the Telegraaf. Defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop has already said the investigation may show that defence could manage with less money.
The speech by the Christian Democrat Verhagen puts him on a collision course with coalition partner Labour, which wants to see if defence can hive off some of its responsibilities, says the paper.
The minister will not deliver his speech in person as he will be attending an emergency EU meeting on Georgia, says the Telegraaf. Instead it will be made via a video link.

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