In the meantime, the cabinet is putting extra money into Defense. Structurally, this involves an additional € 162 million per year. The amount goes up to € 461 million and a total of € 1.5 billion until 2024.
That is stated in the Spring Memorandum that was presented to the Lower House today. With the extra money, investments are made in personnel and a next step is taken in the realization of agreements made within the NATO context.
Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten calls it a good and meaningful step: "This extra money shows that Defense is one of the top priorities of this Cabinet. The Cabinet takes the current threats seriously and attaches great importance to our security. The Netherlands is also seeing that we live up to our commitments, and are a reliable ally within NATO. "
The government has already announced the extra investments in Defense in December 2018 in the National Plan for NATO. This was done on the basis of agreements from 2014 to distribute the burden within the alliance more evenly and to strengthen the effectiveness of NATO and the EU.
Bijleveld-Schouten: "The agreement is to move the Defense budget towards the NATO norm of 2% of the Gross Domestic Product in 10 years’ time. We are not there yet with this step. Therefore, further steps are still needed."
There is also more support for special forces on the wish list.
The needs of NATO are leading in the distribution of the extra money. Investments are also made in staff. In December, the cabinet set 5 priorities based on NATO capacity objectives: extra F-35s, more fire power on land and at sea, more support for special forces and expansion of cyber and intelligence capacity.
The money that is released with the Spring Memorandum is insufficient to invest in all priorities. Choices have to be made and that will happen in the coming months.