The Netherlands and Germany deepen defense cooperation, and will exchange more information in the field of cyber and hybrid threats. Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten and her German colleague, Ursula Von der Leyen, today signed an agreement for this in Berlin. This happened at the same time as King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima visited our eastern neighbors.
The joint declaration is a further step in the far-reaching military cooperation between the two countries. In the cyber domain, for example, they are increasingly working together. A secure connection was recently established between Dutch and German defense networks, which allows defense personnel from both countries to send confidential information to each other. That makes working on all cooperation initiatives a lot easier.
Dutch and German soldiers operate together in many international missions. It is a logical consequence of the integration of units, such as the German-Dutch army corps in Münster. Dutch brigades also fall under German divisions and German units are under Dutch command.
Both countries coordinate systems and procedures as much as possible. This happens, for example, with joint projects in the field of electronic warfare and digitization of operations. This allows troops in the field to communicate better with each other and thus operate.
Keeping Europe safe
"Our countries often take the lead when it comes to improving European defense cooperation, and are thus an example for other European partners," said Bijleveld. “Because only together can we resist all challenges to keep our continent safe. Freedom in Europe is largely due to this cooperation," said the minister. According to her, it is about deepening trust. Which by the way certainly does not mean a prelude to a European army, Bijleveld emphasized.
King and queen at the barracks
Bijleveld and Von der Leyen were in Potsdam later in the day as the Dutch royal couple visited the Einsatzführungskommando der Bundeswehr. Among other things, the ministers discussed how soldiers and the home front are prepared for deployments.
German and Dutch soldiers also discussed with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima how they experience their cooperation.
Medal of honor for leadership
In Potsdam, Minister Bijleveld presented the Honorary Mark for Merit in gold to German General Erich Pfeffer. He received the award for the excellent way in which he commanded Dutch troops in various missions.