Dutch Cabinet presents new national security strategy for entire kingdom

April 3, 2023  –THE HAGUE – The Dutch government presented a new strategy for national security for the entire Kingdom of the Netherlands on Monday. It “lays the foundation for a future in which we are resilient and prepared for the threats of today and tomorrow,” responsible Ministers Dilan Yeşilgöz (Justice and Security) and Wopke Hoekstra (Foreign Affairs) wrote in a letter to parliament. According to them, the urgency for this strategy is high. 

The government also called on citizens, businesses, civil society organizations, and other institutions to take their own measures against threats. Everyone needs to be “alert and prepared,” said Yeşilgöz, “if things go wrong unexpectedly.” 

It is the first time the security strategy covers the entire Kingdom of the Netherlands. It describes which national security interests must be protected and what to do to achieve this. For example, terrorism and extremism must be prevented and combated, vital infrastructure must be protected, and the Kingdom needs to be more responsive to climate change. In addition, unwanted foreign interference and espionage must be prevented, and organized subversive crime must be combated. Pandemic preparedness must be raised, just like society’s preparedness for crises. 

To this end, there must be close cooperation between the central government, the security regions, and municipalities. In addition, “a more secure Kingdom requires solid cooperation in Europe, in NATO, and worldwide,” said Hoekstra. 

Threats to the Kingdom’s security are multiple, multifaceted, and intertwined. Moreover, the problems become greater “when several threats occur simultaneously and reinforce each other,” the Ministers said. “The Russian invasion of Ukraine once again makes it clear that our European security is under threat,” said Hoekstra. “Geopolitical, economic, and digital security are also put to the test.” 

The Ministers are particularly concerned about threats that reinforce each other. That plays a role, among other things, in the consequences of climate change, to which the Caribbean part of the Kingdom is particularly vulnerable. “Climate change is making extreme weather more common, increasing the likelihood of droughts, wildfires, floods, and more powerful hurricanes,” the National Security Strategy reads. 

These can disrupt vital infrastructure, like drinking water, electricity, and telecom facilities. “Climate and natural disasters can mean the devastation of large areas, which can lead to physical casualties and in extreme cases even lead to a care collapse.” 

The government is monitoring the implementation of the outlined strategy. The Ministries and Ministers involved discuss it every six months. 

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