Sharp rise in foreign policy expenditure

In 2006 the expenditure on foreign policy by the Dutch government amounted to 16.4 billion euro: 6.5 percent more than in 2005.
The expenditure mainly increased because of increased expenditure on defence, mainly due to military missions abroad.

Government expenditure on  foreign policy

Government expenditure on  foreign policy

More money for defence

In 2006 defence was the main  expense (8 billion euro) in foreign policy, followed by International relations (4.4 billion euro). The expenditure for defence increased by the greatest amount in 2006 (0.6 billion euro). Half of it went to the increased investment of the air force in reconnaissance systems, transport aircraft and helicopters and infrastructure provisions. Defence expenditure further increased duet o new construction projects (0.2 billion euro).

With a 1.5 percent share, the Netherlands did not meet the NATO target in 2006 of spending at least 2 percent of the gross national income (GNI) on defence.

Defence expenditure

Defence expenditure

More expensive peace missions

In 2006 the Netherlands spent 335 million euro on military aid abroad, over 40 percent more than in 2005. The increase is mainly due to the higher contribution of the Netherlands to the mission in Afghanistan (123 million euro). The participation in the ISAF operation in Uruzgan is costing about half a billion euro for the two years in total.

Target for development aid met

In 2006 the Dutch development aid provided amounted to 4.3 billion euro, 0.8 percent of the gross national income. The percentage is well above the UN target of 0.7 percent.

Higher GNI contributions to Europe

The expenditure regarding international relations increased by nearly half in the period 2002–2006. This is mainly because of the higher GNI contributions to the European Union. In 2002 these amounted to 2.3 billion euro, whereas the 2006 figure was 3.6 billion euro.

Apart from the sharp increase in the EU budget itself, there was an increase in the relative share of the Netherlands in the GNI of the European Union. The agreement for the period 2007–2013 is that the Netherlands will get an annual reduction of  0,6 billion euro on its GNI contribution. 

Fred Arkesteijn