US Ambassor calls on Belgium to invest more in defence

The American Ambassador Denise Bauer has called on Belgium to invest more in defence. Writing in an opinion piece in Thursday’s edition of the daily ‘De Standaard’ Ambassador Bauer said “We can afford to save on our collective defence”.
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Denise Bauer’s article was particularly critical of the continuing cuts to the defence budget. “Belgium has a strong reputation as a trustworthy NATO ally. However, after two decennia of defence cuts, Belgium is now one of the NATO members that spends the lowest percentage of its GNP on defence”.

"Given the current uncertain climate with regard to security, it is more important than ever, to show a shared sense of involvement when it comes to our common defence”, Ms Bauer added.

Previously the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had called on Belgium not to make any further cuts in the defence budget.

Speaking from Tunis where he is on a mission with other ministers from the Federal Government, The Defence Minister Steven Vandeput (Flemish nationalist, photo) said that he understands the concerns expressed in Ms Bauer’s piece.

“It is no secret that I think that solidarity with our international partners is important, also when the budget it’s being drawn up. We in the government are currently working hard on a strategic plan. I call on my partners within the government no to ignore this open letter.”