Petition calls politicians' attention to "dramatic state of Defense"
In the run-up to the parliamentary elections, former soldiers and "concerned civilians" launched a petition to draw politicians' attention to the "dramatic state of Defense". They want the armed forces to get more attention in election campaigns. Former army chief Mart de Kruif called the petition a cry for help, speaking to Trouw.
"We see that our security is at stake. Due to years of cutbacks, lagging investments and a lack of political decisiveness, our armed forces have been completely neglected," the petition reads.
"The election programs pay relatively little attention to Defense, and few parties want to spend 2 percent of GDP on it. While that is really the agreement with NATO," Jan Kropf of Defense staff union ACOM said to Trouw.
De Kruif said he knows from personal experience "how difficult it is for the armed forces to fulfill all its tasks." He mentioned Defense's medical department as an example. "There are countless vacancies. A lot of cutbacks have been made there. While Defense has the important task of being the absolute safety net of the Netherlands if things go wrong. Now, with the crisis around Covid-19, you can see that its barely coping."
The initiators hope that at least 77 thousand people will sign the petition, the approximate number of votes candidates need to be elected into parliament by preferential votes. They hope that this will show politicians that the Dutch are worried about Defense.