Strengthening EU Defense Cooperation:
Options for the Netherlands

The new Government of the Netherlands has set itself the ambitious goal of substantially contributing to making the European Union (EU) a stronger international actor. For this to happen, the EU would finally have to muster the resources, capabilities, strategic vision, and political will to become a military actor in its own right. Following a decade of acrimoniously slow progress in the area of European defense cooperation, the bar is set very high.

MacroScope Strategies (M2S) delivered a brainstorm paper for the Netherlands Ministry of Defense, focusing on potential policy objectives and concrete steps the new Government in The Hague could take in the coming four years (2022-2026) to help foster the goal of a more militarily capable EU

In line with the ideas of the Dutch Defense Vision 2035 published in October 2020 and based on the strengths and priorities of the Netherlands, M2S identified five broad areas for action:

  • Leadership on Cyber Deterrence, Cyber Enablers and Digital Interoperability
  • Ensuring a Successful EU Rapid Deployment Capacity (RDC)
  • Putting (Coordinated) Specialization Successfully Back on the Agenda
  • Building Concrete Tools for Preventing Conflict and Managing Destabilization
  • Stimulating EU-Transatlantic Cooperation

In each of these areas, M2S has provided ideas for discussion around shaping institutions, developing capabilities and putting in place some of the necessary (pre)conditions for change.

Disclaimer: The report was prepared by M2S BV as a contribution to a brainstorm exercise by the Netherlands Ministry of Defense. The opinions and suggestions developed in this report are those of the authors and in no way reflect the views or official policies of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. For further inquiries contact: