Wednesday 22 March 2023

Defence boost is ‘biggest investment’ since end of the Cold War

An F-35 fighter jet. Photo: Odi Busman

The total extra budget for the defence ministry is the biggest investment in the armed forces since the end of the Cold War, defence minister Kajsa Ollongren said on Wednesday.

The government is spending an extra €5 billion on defence this year and nearly €15 billion up to and including 2025, taking the Netherlands up to the Nato norm of 2% of GDP. From 2025, the budget will go up by €5 billion a year.

Global threats and the war in Ukraine show that peace and security cannot be taken for granted,’ she said. ‘We are building an agile and future-proof armed forces by investing in our people, support, equipment and cooperation.’

Strengthening cooperation will make the Netherlands stronger and Europe safer,’ she said. ‘This allows European countries to take greater responsibility for their own safety… in this way defence can protect what is dear to us.’

Most of the spending plans, which focus on expanding fire power and improving support services, leaked earlier this week.

On Tuesday, the ministry also announced it had agreed an 8.5% pay rise with the armed forces unions over three years and a one-off payment of € 1,750 euro for all defence staff.

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