A secure Netherlands in a secure world

Contemporary threats to our security transcend national borders and local barriers. Internal and external security have become inseparable. What happens in the world around us directly affects our security and prosperity. This is the government’s message in its new international security strategy, ‘A Secure Netherlands in a Secure World’. Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans, together with the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and the Ministers of Defence, Security & Justice, Economic Affairs, and the Interior & Kingdom Relations, sent the document today to the House of Representatives.

This is the first overarching international security strategy to be adopted by the Netherlands. The government formulated it in response to the large-scale, rapid changes now under way worldwide in both the economic and political balance of power. Especially in times of cutbacks, it is vital to clearly define the Netherlands’ interests and priorities in the realm of security.

The government’s strategy distinguishes three key Dutch strategic interests in international security policy: the defence of Dutch territory and that of its allies, a properly functioning international legal order and economic security. ‘Building bridges’ is the government’s motto in international security, as it is for its programme as a whole. ‘We cannot take our security for granted,’ said Mr Timmermans. ‘It takes continual investment of resources and active international efforts to safeguard a secure world, and thereby a secure Netherlands. We need to work hard to achieve this objective, in concert with other countries, intergovernmental and civil society organisations and the business community.’

Tight public finances demand smarter deployment of limited resources, the government concludes. With a view to ensuring the Netherlands’ security and prosperity, the government is opting for the following emphases in foreign and security policy: more European responsibility, a sharper focus on unstable regions in the European neighbourhood, disarmament and arms control, and tailor made combinations of diplomatic efforts, the army, trade and development cooperation, and partnerships with the private sector.