Thousands of Dutch military face axe: ministry

18th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch defence ministry said Thursday that the military faced job cuts of up to 10,000 due to budgetary cuts.

Citing "financial difficulties", Defence Minister Hans Hillen had informed parliament that "fundamental choices" would have to be made, the ministry said in a statement.

"A large cut in personnel numbers is unavoidable," it said.

"Based on the financial scenarios, one should think along the lines of 10,000 jobs. Forced retrenchments (redundancies) cannot be excluded," it added.

Ministry spokesman Otto Beeksma said the defence force currently counted about 69,000 employees, 19,000 of them civilians and 40,000 military personnel. The cuts would affect both.

More precise figures would become available in the coming months, the statement said.

In September, the Dutch government announced measures to cut government spending by 3.6 billion euros in 2011 to halt rising public debt and aid long-term economic recovery.

Government debt is forecast to grow to a record 66.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) or 406 billion euros in 2011 from 45.3 percent in 2007.

© 2010 AFP

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