"Irresponsible" to take extra Defense investments from climate fight, Finance Min says
Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag thinks it is inevitable that sanctions against Russia will damage Dutch prosperity. The Cabinet must take this into account, as well as extra expenditure on Defense, among other things. However, she believes that these expenditures must not come at the expense of combating climate change. That seems "irresponsible" to Kaag, she said to Nieuwsuur.
Kaag responded to statements by Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra, who told De Telegraaf on Wednesday that the Cabinet "must go back to the drawing board" with their plans. Hoekstra wants to significantly increase the Defense budget in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. For this, the coalition agreement between VVD, D66, CDA, and ChristenUnie may have to be broken, he said. "It may be uncomfortable for The Hague, but geopolitics does not adhere to the Dutch coalition agreement," Hoekstra said.
Kaag thinks this statement goes too far, she said to Nieuwsuur. "Of course, you look where the necessity has to break the law, but I think that is something different from back to the drawing board. Then you would think that you have to produce a completely new drawing." She is against cutting climate expenditure to free up money for Defense, also given the alarming report the IPCC published this week. With that knowledge, she would find it "crazy, shall we say irresponsible" to cross out one for the other.
Hoekstra was Finance Minister in the previous Rutte Cabinet. Kaag was Foreign Affairs Minister.
Reporting by ANP.