Speech on the budget for the Dutch Ministry of Defence 2024

08 februari 2024 | Pepijn van Houwelingen

Speech by Pepijn van Houwelingen to the Lower House of the Dutch parliament, 6 February 2024



Today we are discussing the budget of the Ministry of Defence.

And it troubles me, but I have to say that that term, 'defence', seems to apply less and less to the ministry in question.

For walking on the leash of NATO, the Netherlands has become increasingly warlike. The transatlantic alliance can hardly be called a defensive alliance anymore but rather an offensive one. 

Ever further advanced towards the East, finally - via a coup in Ukraine in 2014 - making war with Russia inevitable.

Trying to prevent this war marked the start of Forum for Democracy as a political party.

After all, we fought in the 2016 referendum against the controversial association treaty, which effectively meant Ukraine's accession to the EU and NATO, and which would irrevocably result in a military response from Russia.

Two-thirds of the Netherlands agreed. Don't, nearly 2/3rds of voters at the time thought. 

If the Netherlands had actually still had a ministry of defence, of self-defence, then, at that time, we would have protected the security of our country, protected peace, protected the fragile status quo, and listened to the wise verdict of our people.

Then we would have said to the Russia-hating Victoria Nuland, Radek Sikorski and others: “Sorry guys, but we're really not going to do this.”

But no. 

The Rutte government, docile to the war policy of the neo-cons and the Washington hawks, ignored the referendum result. 

The Kiev government's bombing of Russian minorities in the east of the country (in the Donbas region) was further ramped up.

Families and families were torn apart, hundreds, thousands of civilian victims were killed - Kiev knew no end in sight.

Ukrainians themselves also felt the pinch.

That is why in 2019 they chose an outright newcomer as their new president - the outsider Zelensky, who campaigned for neutrality, respect for Russian minorities and a cooperative attitude towards Moscow.

Ukraine, however, appeared to have long since ceased to be a sovereign country.

The US military-industrial complex continued to ratchet up tension, arming Ukraine heavily. And meanwhile, while the West tried to give Putin the impression of being for peace (this much has since been admitted by Merkel and Poroshenko, among others ) America was considering launching a major offensive against the Donbas via Ukraine in early 2022. There were even said to have been plans to retake Crimea. Putin decided to attack first. 

His goals were defensive, Putin kept stressing: no NATO membership for Ukraine, just as America does not want Russia to station a large military force in Mexico or Cuba.

It is so logical. So obvious. So simple.

But no. NATO aggression just kept on going.

By now, we are more than 500,000 dead. Boys and girls like you and me. Innocent civilians.

It is abundantly clear that this war will only stop at the negotiating table. Start talking. Find a compromise.

It seems to have fallen on deaf ears. While it was announced this week that by now more than $ 1 billion (!) worth of weapons have already been lost in Ukraine (read: ended up in the criminal circuit), the European Union decided to send another 50 billion.

What is the end goal? Is there any prospect of a solution out of this impasse? 

What does the minister actually expect?

A leaked report from the German defence ministry reveals that Germany is already speculating on massive mobilisation of NATO soldiers. 300,000 soldiers may soon have to go to war against Moscow.

Insane. Outrageous. Why is this not front-page news? Why is everyone just going along with this?

Our own secretary of state now wants to recruit Dutch boys and girls for the army 'in view of the Russian threat'.

There is talk of reintroducing conscription.

Are we really sleepwalking towards a world war now?

Will this - in Minister Ollongren's words - 'cheap war' soon be fought through with Dutch soldiers? 


Already a year ago, my party leader tabled a motion calling for NEVER sending Dutch conscripts to Ukraine.

The House voted overwhelmingly AGAINST that.

The reason would be that it was all unrealistic, that it would never happen, that it was fact-free politics again.

But we now see how relevant that was precisely!

That is why I will again put forward the same motion in the second term. Plus a second motion, calling on the minister to work for peace.

Thank you.


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