The Netherlands and Belgium intend to expand military co-operation

On Tuesday (19 April), Belgium and the Netherlands held a joint 'Thalassa Summit' in the Belgian city of Ghent.  At the meeting the leaders of the two countries agreed to expand their close cooperation on defence by including more European countries in the process. By working together more and with more countries, they can also better help Ukraine in defending itself against Russia, according to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his Belgian colleague Alexander De Croo.

Both countries intend to extend the joint development and procurement of new frigates, surveillance drones and mine clearance vehicles to other European countries.

Rutte announced earlier on Tuesday (19 April) that the Netherlands will send 'heavier material', such as armoured vehicles and other military equipment to Ukraine. Belgium is also considering it, according to De Croo. This is "really the next step", Rutte emphasised. "To go further than we have done so far", now that Russia has started a new attack in eastern Ukraine.

Russia's "insane aggression" in eastern Ukraine increases "the appetite" for closer European defence cooperation, De Croo notes. Even if he finds it a bit twisted, he hopes the Low Countries will now serve as an example for better spending of European defence money. To overcome the "hopeless" fragmentation of defence in the EU countries and get more value for money for their armed forces.

The Netherlands and Belgium have been working closely together in the military field for some time now. The two neighbours guard their shared airspace together and buy naval vessels together, among other things.
 

source: commonspace.eu with agencies
phot: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his Belgian colleague Alexander De Croo. EPA

Related articles

Editor's choice
News
Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell tells the European Parliament that the situation in Afghanistan was critical, but the EU will remain engaged

Borrell underlined that the European Union will make every effort to support the peace process and to remain a committed partner to the Afghan people. "Of course, we will have to take into account the evolving situation, but disengagement is not an option.  We are clear on that: there is no alternative to a negotiated political settlement, through inclusive peace talks.
Editor's choice
News
Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Senior Turkish officials have met with government delegations from Sweden and Finland as discussions continue following Ankara's threat to veto the NATO membership application of the two Nordic countries. Most NATO countries have warmly welcomed the decision of Sweden and Finland since their membership in NATO will considerably strengthen the northern flank of the alliance, but Turkey accuses both countries of having an ambivalent position on Turkey's struggle with militant Kurdish groups. On Wednesday, Swedish and Finnish government delegations travelled to Ankara to meet with Turkish representatives in an effort to resolve the country’s doubts regarding their accession to NATO. In their first face-to-face meeting since the two Nordic countries applied for membership, Turkish representatives stressed their security concerns, and conditions regarding Sweden’s “cooperation” with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement late on Wednesday that positive steps towards the lifting of an arms embargo from Finland and Sweden had been taken. In October of 2019, Sweden and Finland were among some  European states that imposed an arms embargo on Turkey following a military incursion into Syria.

Popular

Editor's choice
News
Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Turkey holds delicate talks with Sweden and Finland ahead of a decision on their NATO membership application

Senior Turkish officials have met with government delegations from Sweden and Finland as discussions continue following Ankara's threat to veto the NATO membership application of the two Nordic countries. Most NATO countries have warmly welcomed the decision of Sweden and Finland since their membership in NATO will considerably strengthen the northern flank of the alliance, but Turkey accuses both countries of having an ambivalent position on Turkey's struggle with militant Kurdish groups. On Wednesday, Swedish and Finnish government delegations travelled to Ankara to meet with Turkish representatives in an effort to resolve the country’s doubts regarding their accession to NATO. In their first face-to-face meeting since the two Nordic countries applied for membership, Turkish representatives stressed their security concerns, and conditions regarding Sweden’s “cooperation” with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement late on Wednesday that positive steps towards the lifting of an arms embargo from Finland and Sweden had been taken. In October of 2019, Sweden and Finland were among some  European states that imposed an arms embargo on Turkey following a military incursion into Syria.