Thousands more jobs will have to go if the defence ministry is to find a further €350m in cuts, defence minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said on Tuesday.
An extra 2,500 jobs will be scrapped, the minister confirmed after the presentation of the 2014 budget. Defence has already cut 12,000 jobs in an effort to find the original €1.33bn in savings demanded by the government.
Hennis-Plasschaert also confirmed the Netherlands will buy 37 JSF jet fighters to replace its aging fleet of F-16s.
Sources told Nos television the jobs to go will be found by closing the Van Ghent Barracks in Rotterdam and the Joost Dourlein Barracks on Texel. The defence ministry already announced the closure of the Johan Willem Friso Barracks in Assen.
In a reaction, Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said Hennis-Plasschaert has no feel for history if she wants to close the Van Ghent Barracks, which have been in the city since the 17th century.
Aboutaleb told the Telegraaf he will be taking up the matter with parliament.
Marc de Natris of military union GOV/MHB told the Telegraaf the armed forces have not yet got their breath back from the previous round of cuts. ‘The reorganisation is not yet complete and a new round of uncertainty has already arrived,’ he said.
Hennis-Plasschaert wants a smaller defence force with ‘a full tool kit that can engage in any violent situation’, a source told the NRC.
However, all three services will have to find more savings. For instance, the navy will not take delivery of the logistics ship currently being built in Vlissingen. The ship, which costs €400m, will be sold as soon as it is finished.
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