The Netherlands is unlikely to make more than a small contribution to the EU navy mission to stem the flood of boat refugees into Europe, broadcaster Nos said on Tuesday.
Looking at the options agreed on Monday ‘requires careful consideration in the coming months’, defence minister Jeanine Hennis told the broadcaster, following the first round of EU talks.
Her diplomatically-chosen words would indicate the Dutch contribution is likely to be small, the broadcaster said. ‘The mission in the Mediterranean Sea requires navy ships and the Netherlands cannot miss one just like that,’ Nos correspondent Arjan Noorlander said.
In addition, the Netherlands already makes a considerable contribution in the region south of Italy, the broadcaster said.
The new mission will be the first to be carried out under the European flag, Noorlander pointed out. ‘This sort of mission is usually carried out under Nato auspices.’
On Monday, EU defence and foreign ministers agreed to launch a naval mission targeting the boats used by people smugglers in the Mediterranean. Thousands of migrants have died attempting to reach Europe.
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