Netherlands Favors German NATO Plan

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Netherlands supports the German plan to give the larger countries a leading position within the NATO. Smaller countries can then, together with a coordinating bigger country, work out certain military projects or for instance buy a tanker aircraft together. Basically it is a new form of cooperation within the NATO.

Minister Jeanine Hennis of Defense says that this is nothing new regarding the point of view of the Netherlands on Defense. After attending the yearly NATO meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, the minister told the press that the concept plan is very good and that she hopes that for the meeting next year the plan will be finished in detail.

Hennis says not to be afraid, like some other NATO members, that the plan will lead to loss of sovereignty or loss of national control. “If the cooperation will lead to an improvement of interests of the Netherlands then it means that it is not an infringement.”

The minister also doesn’t share the fear of the French that working under a ‘leader’ would lead to specialization of armies. “The plan is not about making the armies of smaller countries a part of a bigger army. It is a new approach to international cooperation.”

Cooperation with Belgium and Luxemburg

Last year Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands have started to discuss cooperation on defense. In these stressful economic times the countries hope that by cooperating they can improve the military power nevertheless. On Wednesday the minister signed a letter of intent, with her Belgian colleague Pieter de Crem, about guarding the air space above the three countries together.

The plan is that from 2016 the Netherlands and Belgium will together guard the Benelux air space. Guarding the air space is important, for instance, to attack foreign unannounced military planes.

The cooperation will also lead to more possibilities to support international missions, according to the minister.