Countries such as Russia and China pose an increasing threat to the security of the Netherlands, due in the main to international developments like the war in Ukraine, Dutch security services said on Monday.
The Netherlands, the agencies said, is an ‘attractive target for espionage’ because of its ‘underground physical energy network’, its ‘highly developed digital infrastructure’ and the high value expertise at its companies and institutions.
The report was drawn up by the AIVD, the military security service MIVD and the counter terrorism unit NCTV.
The Netherlands, the report said, is increasingly being confronted with threats to its economic safety. ‘Vital processes are vulnerable,’ said NCTV chief Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg. ‘We must not underestimate this.’ At the end of the summer, for example, the gas pipelines Nord Stream 1 and 2 were sabotaged.
China is regarded as the biggest threat. The country is an important and valued partner to some, but it uses both legal and illegal methods to appropriate technology, which could be used by the military and to gain a competitive advantage, the report said.
In addition, the report said, outside interference is forming a threat to the social and political stability of the Netherlands. Russia, for example, is using European dependency on its gas to sow social unrest, the agencies said.
In March, the Netherlands expelled 17 Russian diplomats for spying, following information from the AIVD and MIVD security services.
And earlier this month, the NRC reported that the AIVD had monitored and tapped the phone of former senate leader René van der Linden because of his ties with people close to Vladimir Putin.
The paper said Van der Linden was a ‘pawn in a Kremlin plot to try to influence western public opinion and politicans in Russia’s favour’.
The pro-Russia stand of far right party Forum voor Democratie has also been slammed by MPs and commentators. Party leader Thierry Baudet has repeatedly said he hopes Russia will win the war in Ukraine.
The cabinet said in a reaction to the report that action needs to be taken quickly to offset the threat, given the increasingly unstable geopolitical climate.
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