13 years as Dutch PM, NATO's top candidate never once paid NATO minimum 2% of GDP

How can Mark Rutte have any credibility as the new Secretary-General of NATO?

Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2024

Facts4EU.Org reveals Mark Rutte’s disastrous performance on defence as Dutch PM

Today marks the start of the two-day meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs at NATO HQ, Brussels, Belgium. On the agenda will be the choice of the next Secretary General of NATO, following the imminent retirement of Jens Stoltenberg. The front-runner is Mark Rutte.

Undoubtedly a charming man, Mark Rutte served as Dutch Prime Minister from 2010 until the election he lost last year (2023). He is currently serving as pro-tem Dutch PM while a new coalition government is being formed. However, in all the many years of his tenure, the Netherlands never came close to spending what it should have spent on defence.

From 2014 the Netherlands should have been spending a minimum of 2% of GDP on defence, of which 20% was the minimum to be spent on equipment. His Dutch government never even approached meeting the targets. And yet this ardently pro-EU candidate is the favourite to become Secretary General of NATO, backed by the EU - and by No.10.

Below Facts4EU.Org reveals the stark facts about the favourite man for NATO’s top job.

Mark Rutte’s record on NATO’s minimum defence spending

Since the Cardiff summit in 2014 NATO has had an agreed minimum spend on defence of 2% of GDP, together with a minimum of 20% of this being spent on equipment. Note: These are minimums and the UK has always exceeded them.

Sadly, Rutte’s government never came anywhere close to meeting the minimums and still falls short to this day.

What is it with the Dutch?

If Mark Rutte is successful he would be the 4th Dutch NATO Secretary General of NATO. The Netherlands have already had three NATO Secretary Generals: Dirk Stikker (1961-1964), Joseph Luns (1971-1984), and de Hoop Scheffer (2004-2009).

The largest contributor to NATO by far in Europe - the United Kingdom - has had just three.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

1. The Dutch Rutte government’s lamentable performance on spending the NATO minimum

2014 to 2023, using NATO’s own figures

  • 2014 : 1.50%
  • 2023 : 1.78%

All well below the NATO minimum, which should be exceeded.

[Source : NATO, Apr 2024.]

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2024 - click to enlarge

In all his 13 years as Dutch PM, Rutte showed no interest in paying his way in NATO

Below we show just how much Rutte’s Dutch government owes NATO since the 2014 protocol was agreed. They underspent by almost $30bn.

The Netherlands of course has a small economy compared to that of the UK. In this report we look only at percentage spends on defence as a proportion of GDP, as this is what NATO also looks at.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

2. Rutte's underspend on defence according to NATO minimum, 2014-2023

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2024 - click to enlarge

[Source : NATO, Apr 2024.]

Rutte's history with the Russians

Unortunately for people like Mark Rutte the Internet's memory can be difficult. Below is an extract from a Free Europe interview which defines the start of the EU's dependency on Russian gas, fully endorsed by Mark Rutte, and at which the then Russian President was clearly delighted.

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev turned on a tap that opened the flow of gas at the western end of the new link during a ceremony in the northeastern German town of Lubmin.

"Today marks a remarkable, long-awaited event," Medvedev said. "We are launching the first pipeline of Nord Stream, which opens a new page in our country's cooperation with the European Union, and all previous speakers took note of that. For the first time, Russian gas will reach countries of the European Union directly."

"The prime ministers of France and the Netherlands - Francois Fillon and Mark Rutte - and EU Energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger also attended today's ceremony, underlining the political importance of a new energy link meant to strengthen the security of natural-gas supplies. Once seen as a means to bring extra Russian natural gas to Europe, the $10 billion pipeline's main purpose now is to lessen Moscow's reliance on transit pipelines that pass through Ukraine and Belarus."

At today's ceremony, it was billed as "the new gas supply route for Europe."

Since Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine we now all know how that turned out...

Rishi Sunak's government is backing this man with no military experience and a track record of doing nothing on defence

The following comes from the Financial Times on 22 Feb 2024.

“The UK strongly backs Dutch PM Mark Rutte to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as Nato Secretary General,” a UK official said in a statement. “Rutte is well-respected across the alliance, has serious defence and security credentials, and will ensure that the alliance remains strong and ready to defend and deter.”

Rutte is the frontrunner for the post, with the backing of a majority of allies. A full consensus among the alliance’s 31 members is necessary for a new secretary-general to be appointed.


A failed PM from a small country, who never invested in defence, and who has no knowledge or experience of the subject

What is anyone thinking, putting a failed Dutch PM who never once paid the NATO minimum into his own country’s defence in all the 13 years he was in power?

Furthermore it seems Mr Rutte has never had any experience of defence or military matters, nor of the complex geo-political world with its military challenges which face us.

In short, here is yet another pro-EU apparatchik who seems to be about to be shoe-horned into a vital international role for which he has no experience and no qualifications.

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[ Sources: NATO ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Wed 03 Apr 2024

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