Policy and Budget

The Netherlands favours an integrated approach to international policy. Issues of peace and security, good governance and human rights, trade, poverty, the environment, and migration are all closely interconnected.

International focus both necessary and useful

The Netherlands cannot bend the world to its will. By adopting an international focus we can, however, exploit the opportunities this changing world offers for advancing our prosperity and wellbeing, and for meeting the challenges that face us. It is the responsibility of the government to create global conditions that favour Dutch interests. After all, about one third of Dutch GDP is earned through trade, while in 2010 exports of Dutch goods and services expressed as a percentage of GDP amounted to 72.6%.

We also need to create global conditions that benefit our security, as threats to it mostly originate from far beyond our own territory. We need to create circumstances that benefit our living environment and our health, and that foster the freedom necessary for our way of life. Together these factors – prosperity, employment, security, the environment, health and freedom – make up a broadly defined Dutch interest. Increasingly, they are determined beyond our borders, and therefore need to be defended there. The Netherlands can only influence international developments that directly affect our interests if we participate at global level and pursue active foreign policy. In these times of major shifts on the world stage we need to be more, not less, proactive.