The Netherlands is going to strengthen its embassy network in dozens of European countries with extra diplomats, following Britain’s pull-out of the EU, the NRC said on Tuesday.
The aim is to keep the Dutch presence in Europe up to scratch following the loss of a ‘crucial union partner’, the paper said.
Speaking at a meeting at the Clingendael Institute, Thijs van der Plas, who heads the government’s European unit, said that Budapest, Bucharest, Belgrade, Berlin, Brussels, Dublin, London, Madrid, Paris, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje, Tirana and Zagreb ‘will all get extra people’.
The government’s coalition accord included a commitment to spend €40m to strength Dutch diplomatic presence abroad and reopen embassies and consulates.
In May 2017, the government advisory board for international affairs AIV said €70m to €80m a year needed to be spent to bring Dutch embassies up to scratch.
The AIV report said increasing global dangers make the tasks of embassies wider and more complex but that there have been sharp cost reductions in the Dutch diplomatic corps in recent years.
Staff levels have been cut by one-third compared to 20 years ago and interns are being assigned to posts formerly held by diplomats, the AIV said.
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