Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert has strongly urged greater EU cooperation in capability development to address the bloc’s military shortfalls in the run-up to a December summit of EU leaders.
Addressing members in the European Parliament’s Security and Defence Committee Nov. 5, she said that a report by Catherine Ashton, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, “rightly states that member states should share their capability plans,” which “also means breaking new ground with respect to planning, acquisition, training and logistical support. It means that we must align our collective requirements and national priorities.
“If we are serious about preventing further gaps in essential military capabilities in Europe, we should end the current practice of making military investments in splendid national isolation,” she warned. . . .
She said cooperation in smaller groups will yield faster results than initiatives involving all 28 EU member states. . . .
Citing Belgian-Dutch naval cooperation, a Dutch-German army corps with a permanent headquarters and a UK-Dutch amphibious force as examples of EU cooperation, she said she had also recently signed a letter of intent with Belgium on integrated air policing.
On Oct. 23, Hennis-Plasschaert and Belgium Defense Minister Pieter de Crem signed the letter detailing the joint surveillance of the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) airspace using fighter aircraft. The ministers will now draw up a formal cooperation agreement in the short term.