Belgium and the Netherlands further military cooperation

Belgium and the Netherlands further military cooperation

On 29 February 2012, Minister Hans Hillen and his Belgian counterpart Pieter De Crem discussed further cooperation between their armed forces. They did so during a visit to the headquarters of Admiral Benelux (ABNL) at the naval base in Den Helder.

During their visit, the ministers also decided to look into new forms of cooperation. An example they gave was a combined Quick Reaction Force, consisting of a Dutch and a Belgian F-16, for the protection of Dutch and Belgian airspace. Other matters discussed included cooperation in the replacement of the F-16 and expanding the cooperation between the Belgian paracommandos and Dutch units such as the commandos and the marines.

The Dutch and Belgian navies have been working in close cooperation for 15 years now, with regard to the operational readiness of the fleet, maintenance, training and an integrated operational command. It is one of the most extensive instances of military cooperation within the European Union. It also shows how military cooperation may develop further in the European Union in the 21st century. The Netherlands and Belgium both operate the same types of frigate and minehunter and are both in the process of introducing the NH90 helicopter.


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