Defence ministry announces huge cuts
Next year's defence budget in the Netherlands will be cut by 200 million euros. Most of the savings will be made by postponing investment in material and infrastructure. The rest will be saved by taking on less staff.
The Ministry of Defence has to make structural cuts of 635 million euros by 2018. Almost a third of that will be realised next year.
Defence Minister Hans Hillen says the cuts will be felt sorely in the next two years. No new civilian personnel will be taken on and only selected military vacancies will be filled. Equipment will have to used for longer before being replaced, consequently the cost of maintenance will increase. The measures mean a number of projects will be put on hold.
In response, the Dutch armed force's largest union VBM/NOV warns the measures will put the army in a deplorable state and cause unrest among troops. It fears that fewer people coming into the services will increase the pressure on service men and women. It also fears forced redundancies. Nevertheless, the union urged Minister Hillen to look into increasing pay in line with inflation. The VBM/NOV does not rule out industrial action.
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