NATO mini-summit at Catshuis ahead of ‘possibly crucial’ summit in Madrid

Prime Minister Rutte and the leaders of six other NATO countries spoke at the Catshuis in The Hague about the war in Ukraine, the possible accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO and the future of the military alliance. Afterwards, unity mainly sounded: the countries say they want to collaborate more with each other.

At the invitation of Prime Minister Rutte and his Danish colleague Frederiksen, the Prime Ministers of Belgium, Latvia, Poland, Portugal and the President of Romania had come to The Hague. NATO chief executive Stoltenberg was also present. According to Rutte, it was an opportunity to talk informally ahead of the โ€œperhaps crucialโ€ NATO summit in Madrid at the end of this month, according to Rutte.

Take away belongings

According to Rutte, the war in Ukraine was โ€œof courseโ€ the main topic. โ€œPutin should not win this war,โ€ he said at an afterward press conference. โ€œWe want to express our steadfast and ongoing support for Ukraine here. And I call upon Putin again to stop this aggression.โ€ His Polish colleague Morawiecki did say that NATO countries have not done enough to protect and support Ukraine.

According to Morawiecki, Ukraine needs to be supplied with more heavy weapons, something NATO boss Stoltenberg joins. As far as Morawiecki is concerned, frozen possessions of wealthy Russians must also be used to rebuild Ukraine. โ€œWe have to take away the belongings of the war criminals,โ€ he said.

More money for defense

The leaders consider NATO โ€œthe cornerstoneโ€ of transatlantic security. NATO boss Stoltenberg pointed out in the press conference that the countries want to invest more money in defense. The Netherlands will also do this, as it turned out earlier.

According to NATO standards, 2 percent of the gross domestic product must be spent on defense. In the latest plans of the Netherlands, this standard will be met in 2024 and 2025, but no longer according to the most recent Defence Note. โ€œNow is the time to strengthen the European defence industry,โ€ said Prime Minister De Croo of Belgium. โ€œMade in Europe must stand for quality.โ€

Prime Minister Rutte further said he was certain that Finland and Sweden can join the military alliance, despite Turkey‘s objections. The two countries submitted their membership applications last month, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, Turkey’s President Erdogan is bothering because, according to him, the two countries support Kurdish militias. According to Rutte, hard work is being done to remove Turkish concerns.