Additional EUR 5 billion in defence spending on a structural basis

The government of the Netherlands has approved an additional EUR 5 billion in defence spending on a structural basis. This means a 40% increase in the defence budget relative to the 2022 budget. This information was included in the Spring Memorandum, which was submitted to the House of Representatives today.

The additional spending is the result of both the coalition agreement and the Spring Memorandum. It means that the Netherlands will meet the NATO standard of 2% of GDP in 2024 and 2025. According to Minister of Defence Kajsa Ollongren, the Netherlands will therefore be sending an important signal to NATO allies and European partners. “This is the largest investment since the end of the Cold War and it is a very important one, certainly now with the war in Ukraine. The changing security situation forced us to face the facts.” There is also broad support for the additional investment in the House of Representatives.

The defence organisation now bears the major responsibility of making good use of the funding. Doing so will be a challenge in the current market situation. There is a shortage of personnel and spare parts, and delivery times are long. As Ollongren explained, “In the coming period, we will strengthen our foundation and build the armed forces of the future. Just as the Netherlands is doing, many allies are also increasing their defence budgets. This is therefore the time to work together in a smarter way.”

Defence White Paper

In the near future, the Minister of Defence and the State Secretary for Defence will present the Defence White Paper. In this white paper, they make clear how they wish to spend the available funding. In the coalition agreement, EUR 0.5 billion has been structurally reserved for new terms and conditions of employment and the pay structure for military personnel. According to Ollongren, “A great responsibility rests on our shoulders. In the Defence White Paper, the state secretary and I will present an ambitious and realistic plan. It starts at the heart of our organisation, namely defence personnel.”

The minister also stressed the intention to jointly invest with international partners, the business community and knowledge institutes to the greatest extent possible in order to achieve innovation and sustainability.