Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg signed a defense cooperation accord yesterday evening. The defense ministers of the three countries—Pieter de Crem, Hans Hillen and Jean-Marie Halsdorf, respectively—pledged closer cooperation on training between the Belgian and Royal Netherlands navies and between Belgian paracommandoes and the Dutch airmobile brigade. They also said their air forces will use each others airfields.
Photo: Azoug Malek, Belgian Ministry of Defense
Europe can do much more through cooperation without giving up nationality, according to Hillen, who said, “No country can defend itself alone." De Crem added, "We are on the way to a totally new structure with trinational command. This is the first step towards complete integration of materiel and joint deployability."
Belgium and the Netherlands are already cooperating in the naval domain through the Benelux Admirality in Den Helder, the Netherlands, and yesterday's accord could serve as a model for further links between the Benelux armed forces, according to the Belgian Ministry of Defense. The three countries have identified possibilities for cooperation in the areas of logistics and maintenance, training and education, carrying out military tasks, and defense acquisition.