“The coexistence of different armed forces is expensively inefficient and only serves national interests,” explained German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius at the Berlin Security Conference (BSC) 2023. Germany and the Netherlands proved that strength lies in partnership. Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Olongren agrees with this.
A strong Europe is the top priority of Dutch foreign policy, said Ollongren. The same applies to bilateral cooperation. These partnerships are particularly important because we are facing an exceptionally precarious global security situation, she continued. At the same time, the war in Ukraine and Gaza as well as the situation in the Indo-Pacific and the Sahel must be addressed. European defence must therefore be strengthened. Germany and the Netherlands are already putting this into practice. The mutual subordination of brigades is historically unique, Ollongren said. She hopes that this example will serve as a model for other EU states.
In line with the particular importance of this partnership and the global challenges, the aim is therefore to renew a joint agreement from 2019, explained the Minister.
Pistorius and Ollongren used the framework of the BSC to reaffirm their cooperation by renewing the agreement from 2019. Both ministers call for and praise cooperation, but are critical of a joint European army. Instead of setting an unrealistic goal, it would be better to proceed step by step, Pistorius said. Not all EU nations are as open to military cooperation as Germany and the Netherlands.