EU Defense (Doctrine)

A Dutch minister is campaigning for European defense, that's changing!



(BRUSSELS2) Would the Netherlands – whose committed Atlanticism we know – switch to the recognition of deepening the Europe of defense? Thus, in a way, going the opposite way to France which, under the leadership of Nicolas Sarkozy, wants to get closer to NATO. You can believe it to read
Maxime Verhagen, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who signs a tribune in the daily Volkskrant. So I can't resist giving you a few long extracts.

Have a convincing, strong and flexible defense policy.

“The time is ripe to invest more in defence, certainly within the framework of the EU“, he writes. “Only then can Europe be an important actor on the world political stage..” “The development of the situation in the Caucasus once again underlines the need for a convincing European security and defense policy,” he continues. “If we want Europe to be a force capable of making the world more stable, it must be given a strong and flexible defense capability. It is therefore right that the French presidency has made the strengthening of the security and defense policy one of its priorities.. NATO will also benefit: European partners, in fact, must also be able to take on their responsibilities within the alliance. In short, it is time to give a strong push.”

Invest in hard power (defence) and soft power (crisis management)

“This means: better cooperation within the European Union and more investment in European defense, including in the Netherlands. If we are to take seriously the risks of today's uncertain world, we must also make a serious defense effort. This investment in hard power is a necessary condition to keep Europe in the saddle in world politics. In addition to increasing our military capability, we must also continue to invest in our soft power”. And the minister cited the mission which is going to Georgia with experts in the field of human rights, police and justice as well as observers with military experience. "This soft power is at least as important when it comes to ensuring stability. It is precisely in this field that the EU has recently demonstrated its added value: the Union has taken part in crisis management operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo and has trained the Palestinian police. I am proud of it: it gives Europe visibility in the world. At the same time, we propagate the basic values ​​of our European cooperation: freedom, democracy and respect for human rights.”

Give shape to the European intervention force.

“I expect the need for our engagement will only grow in today's world. So we can do more in Afghanistan: the need for civilian capacity to complement military capacity is enormous there.” “We must give shape to the European intervention force, which has existed mainly on paper until now“, concludes the head of Dutch diplomacy. “It is not only as the EU, but also as the Netherlands that we must work on this. This is why I advocate a national reserve of experts who can be mobilized quickly for European missions, with good support and financed by a clear national mechanism”.

What more can be said ?…

 (Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).