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German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and his Dutch counterpart, Kajsa Ollongren, signed an agreement to further intensify bilateral military cooperation on 30 November 2023. The signing took place on the fringes of the Berlin Security Conference.

According to a spokesperson from the German Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg), one of the aims of the new agreement is for both countries to intensify their co-ordination in security and defence policy, including with regard to their actions in international organisations and forums as well as further joint support for Ukraine.

The agreement also aims to strengthen co-operation in alliance defence and to co-operate more closely as part of the NATO Force Model.

There are currently plans for the Netherlands, alongside Norway, to contribute forces to the German brigade in Lithuania.

The agreement also envisages closer co-ordination of the joint development of military capabilities and the procurement of defence equipment. According to the spokesperson, the intention is to work more closely together in training, exercises and operations. On X/Twitter, the BMVg also reported that “armoured co-operation” is part of the agreement.

The BMVg spokesperson additionally noted that the accord includes a roadmap in which the agreements reached are operationalised in specific projects.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and his Dutch counterpart, Kajsa Ollongren, sign an agreement to deepen military co-operation on 30 November 2023. (Photo: ES&T)

The current co-operation between the Bundeswehr and the Dutch armed forces is already unprecedented. For example, the Dutch have placed all three of their combat brigades under the command of German divisions. In return, the naval battalion of the German Navy has been placed under the command of the Netherlands Marine Corps (Korps Mariniers).

The Luftwaffe’s procurement of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and Chinook transport helicopters will further harmonise binational interoperability, as the Dutch operate both of these aircraft.

In addition, both armed forces are planning to jointly procure a vehicle for their airborne troops.

Both defence ministers expressed their delight at the further deepening of their countries’ military partnership.