Coalition parties want changes to defence cuts
Coalition parties VVD conservatives and CDA Christian Democrats want to amend the agreed cuts to the defence budgets in order to keep five Cougar helicopters and two patrol vessels operational.
CDA MP Raymond Knops confirmed reports in newspaper on the issue. The coalition parties continue to support the one billion euro in cuts imposed on the armed forces by Defence Minister Hans Hillen, but the VVD, CDA and the PVV Freedom Party, which provides parliamentary support to the minority cabinet, want to make a relatively minor adjustment of about 40 million euros.
The VVD wants the navy to retain two patrol vessels. The CDA wants to keep five Cougar helicopters in service at least until 2017. The PVV insisted that cuts to the military police budget be scrapped.
The military unions have announced that they are no longer interested in meeting Defence Minister Hans Hillen for talks on Tuesday. The unions want the minister to first present concrete plans, which they say are missing from the letter of invitation they received.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide