NATO boss criticizes Netherlands Defense spending

The NATO flag
The NATO flag. Photo: Julo / Wikimedia Commons

The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, criticized the Netherlands for still not increasing Defense spending to 2 percent of the gross domestic product. "We expect more. This is about what's fair", he said in a conversation with the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, on Thursday, NU.nl reports.

Stoltenberg reminded the Kamer of the agreements the Netherlands made during the NATO summit in Wales in 2014. The Dutch government promised to achieve the NATO standard of Defense spending at 2 percent of GDP within ten years. But the Netherlands is still far from that goal.

He acknowledged that the Netherlands increased Defense spending, but added that it is not enough. The Rutte III government agreed to annually raise the Ministry of Defense's budget by 1.5 billion euros. But, partly due to the growing economy, that is not enough to achieve the 2 percent of GDP goal.

Reaching that goal is very necessary, according to Stoltenberg. Not only because it is fair to the other NATO allies that already achieved the standard, but also because geopolitical relations have grown increasingly tense since 2014. He referred to the rise of ISIS and the terrorism that came with it, as well as the Russian annexation of the Crimea. 

He understands that countries reduced defense spending after the Cold War. He did the same as Minister in Norway. "But if you cut back in quiet times, you also have to invest in turbulent times", he said. "It is not an optimistic message, but a safe world is not for free."

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