Foreign Affairs Budget 2018

On 19 September 2017, Prinsjesdag, the Dutch government presented its policy plans and budgets for the coming parliamentary year.

Strong foreign policy remains essential

At the State Opening of Parliament in September 2017, foreign minister Bert Koenders emphasised that, if the Netherlands is to occupy a strong position in a safe and prosperous world, it will need to vigorously continue its foreign policy efforts in the years ahead. In the budget, the government refers to terror attacks in Europe, the protracted conflicts in Syria and Iraq, developments in Turkey, allies’ increased unpredictability, the North Korean threat, and persistent and shifting migration flows.

‘In today’s world, diplomacy, aid and investment – combined with a robust military – are indispensable,’ said Mr Koenders. ‘Strong foreign policy is and remains essential. In 2018 the Kingdom of the Netherlands will have a seat on the UN Security Council, the most important body for maintaining peace and security around the world. This will give us the opportunity to participate in decision-making at the highest level, put issues on the agenda and promote the Kingdom’s interests.’

‘In Europe, the Netherlands is committed to a Union that works for the security and prosperity of its citizens,’ Mr Koenders continued. ‘In the Brexit negotiations, we believe that the main priority should be to clarify the rights of EU citizens, eliminate uncertainty for businesses and ensure that existing financial obligations are met.’

Mr Koenders noted that it will only be possible to effectively defend Dutch interests and assist Dutch nationals abroad if the Netherlands has a strong diplomatic service. ‘This will require the necessary funding,’ he added. ‘In view of global developments and the concerns of Dutch citizens, more money will be needed in the years ahead.’

Aid, trade and investment

The foreign trade and development cooperation budget for 2018 focuses mainly on existing aid, trade and investment programmes. For example, in 2018 the government expects to create or retain at least 220,000 jobs through programmes for setting up and developing businesses in low- and middle-income countries. Next year, the Netherlands will also provide an additional 2.3 million people with access to sanitation facilities and 1.6 million people with access to clean drinking water.

‘The Netherlands has long been an advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights in developing countries, and this will continue,’ stressed foreign trade and development minister Lilianne Ploumen. In 2018 the Netherlands’ ongoing programmes will provide another 4 million women and girls with access to modern contraceptives.

Agreements on international responsible business conduct have already been successfully concluded with the textile, gold, banking, plant protein, and sustainable forestry industries. In 2018 agreements will also be signed with the technology, pension fund, sustainable energy, and shipping industries, among others.

In 2018 the government will continue its efforts to establish Invest-NL, an investment institution that will offer businesses a one-stop shop for venture capital, guarantees, export credit insurance and international finance programmes, focusing on both developed and developing markets.

Art. Description Draft budget
Budget statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 2018: Expenditure (amounts in thousands of euros)
41 International legal order and human rights 109,805
42 Security and stability 249,37
43 European cooperation 8,389,205
44 Consular services 50,093
46 Nominal and unforeseen 68,329
47 Administrative expenditure 667,613
TOTAL 9,534,415
Art. Description Draft budget
Budget statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 2018: Revenue (amounts in thousands of euros)
41 International legal order and human rights 0
42 Security and stability 1,227
43 European cooperation 686,901
44 Consular services 42,090
46 Nominal and unforeseen 0
47 Administrative expenditure 21,450
TOTAL 751,668
Art. Description Draft budget
Budget statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 2018: Commitments (amounts in thousands of euros)
41 International legal order and human rights 91,005
42 Security and stability 232,949
43 European cooperation 8,186,402
44 Consular services 42,472
46 Nominal and unforeseen 68,329
47 Administrative expenditure 681,801
TOTAL 9,302,958

Ministry responsible