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A look at the Defence news 8 - 15 May

The Movement Coordination Centre Europe (MCCE) has celebrated its 10 year anniversary. The centre coordinates the strategic military transport of 28 participating NATO and EU countries. This way, better use is made of land, sea and air transport means, thus saving millions of euros. But now it is up to the politicians to take the next step, the Netherlands Minister of Defence Jeanine Hennis said. “We must reinforce each other in logistic terms to be able to respond to the unrest in large parts of the world.”

Defence ministers of anti-ISIS coalition countries meet in Copenhagen

On 9 May, the defence ministers of the anti-ISIS coalition countries discussed the progress of the campaign against ISIS and further steps to be taken. With the support of the coalition, the Iraqi armed forces have now made considerable progress in the fight against terrorist organisation ISIS. “The hardest part, however, may still lie ahead of us,” minister Hennis explained. “In west Mosul, ISIS has been isolated and is being attacked, but at the same time it is determined to continue the fight.”

Syria

We are also facing a difficult upcoming fight in Raqqa, where coalition-supported Syrian troops have now almost surrounded the city. The presence of forces loyal to Assad, as well as Russian and Turkish forces, makes the situation over there even more complex than in Iraq. Minister Hennis: “It is our goal to drive ISIS out of Raqqa and, in the end, to defeat them in military terms, which will also benefit our inner cities.”

Scientific council advocates serious investment in defence

‘The Netherlands has not lived up to its promise in terms of budgetary effort’. Defence spending must therefore rise in previously determined steps to 2% of GDP by 2024, , as stated in a report by the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR). The deterioration of the international security situation led to the advisory report ‘Veiligheid in een wereld van verbindingen: een strategische visie op het defensiebeleid’ (Security in a connected world: a strategic vision on defence policy’). Security policy needs to be adapted and set up in line with this report.

The Netherlands monitors Benelux airspace for the first time

Since 11 May, Dutch F-16s have been monitoring the airspace of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands for a 4-month period. This is the first time the Netherlands is responsible for monitoring the entire Benelux airspace. Belgium and the Netherlands have been carrying out the QRA task alternately since 1 January 2017.

HNLMS Evertsen in Baltic Sea as a deterrent

Air defence and command frigate HNLMS Evertsen joined the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) on 11 May. This flotilla, with a variable complement of 6 to 10 ships, is sailing in the Baltic Sea because of the deterioration of the security situation at the eastern borders of the NATO treaty area. Because of this situation, there has been an increased focus on the collective defence of the alliance. In addition, a military presence on land, in the air and at sea should have a deterrent effect and contribute to the security in this region.