Reducing spending on the Netherlands’ diplomatic network abroad would be undesirable because of the impact on new development aid strategy, according to the government’s advisory body on international affairs.
Embassies are essential in moving towards the new form of development aid which is now necessary because the current classic set up has been overtaken, the AIV says in a new report.
In the future, aid must be based on flexible alliances between governments, international organisations, companies and academic institutes.
‘Embassy experts play a unique part in taking a flexible approach to opportunities and bringing in other players,’ the report said. ‘Cuts in this network contravene the recommendations in this report… the AIV believes further cuts in the embassy network will damage the Netherlands’ international profile and positioning.’
The cabinet is planning to slash spending on embassies, in part by sharing them with other EU countries.
The NRC said in November dozens of Dutch embassies and diplomatic missions will be forced to close because the new cabinet is cutting €40m from their budget. At the same time, a further €60m is being trimmed from general spending on foreign missions.
The cuts are due to be introduced in 2015. The previous government reduced the foreign diplomatic network by 10 embassies and cut diplomatic staffing levels abroad by 300 jobs.
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