In February of this year Prime Minister Rutte delivered the Churchill Lecture in Zurich. In his speech he emphasised Europe’s duty to assume responsibility for its own security. Not separately from NATO, but as part of a larger European contribution - exactly what the United States is demanding of the European countries. In September 2014 the NATO countries committed to spending two percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defence by 2024. Prime Minister Rutte gave the same commitment on behalf of the Netherlands.
At the end of 2017 the two percent limit was also adopted by the EU as a commitment under Permanent Structured Cooperation, in which the Netherlands is a participant. In the Churchill Lecture Rutte said: “We need to stand by this commitment, not only because the Americans have a point when they press for a larger European contribution, but above all because it is in our own interest.”
On 3 October Rutte spoke once more on security for the Netherlands Atlantic Association, underlining the importance of the NATO Alliance and an increased European contribution.
So far for the public rhetoric. What is happening in reality?
Read the full Clingendael Alert.