The Netherlands to join OCCAR

OCCAR Eurodrone

Find out how the Netherlands’ membership of OCCAR strengthens defense cooperation in Europe and strategically positions its defense industry.

The Netherlands’ ambition to join the Organisation Conjoint de Coopération en matière d’Armement (OCCAR) marks a strategic turning point in European defense cooperation. The move, prompted by the war in Ukraine and tension in the defense market, is designed to strengthen the position of Dutch industry and foster closer collaboration with European partners.

In a global context marked by growing threats and conflicts, notably the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the Netherlands has expressed its desire to join the Organisation Conjoint de Coopération en matière d’Armement (OCCAR). This move is part of a drive to strengthen defense cooperation within Europe and optimally position the Dutch defense industry.

International context and the need for cooperation

The war in Ukraine served as a catalyst, revealing the need for greater defense cooperation in Europe. This situation highlighted the existing tension in the defense market and the need for a strong, unified European industrial base.

OCCAR: a key player in European cooperation

Founded in 2001, OCCAR is a European organization that manages defense equipment projects, with an operating budget of around 6 billion euros. It includes projects such as the A400M transport aircraft, the FREMM multi-mission frigate and the Eurodrone. OCCAR membership is seen by the Netherlands as a crucial step towards stronger European defense cooperation.

OCCAR Eurodrone

Impact of Dutch membership

OCCAR membership would enable the Netherlands to play a leading role in European defense cooperation. It also offers an opportunity for the Dutch defense industry to participate more actively in European projects and remain closely linked to key partners.

In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the Netherlands increased its defense budget from €12 billion in 2022 to €15 billion in 2023, with more than €21 billion planned for 2024. This increase reflects the country’s growing commitment to defense.

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren has informed parliament of this intention. Membership will be assessed by OCCAR members and will require a parliamentary treaty procedure.

Consequences of membership for the defense industry

Membership would open doors for the Dutch defense industry to participate more easily in OCCAR-managed projects, and to compete for European projects, even if the Netherlands does not participate directly.

The Netherlands’ entry into OCCAR could catalyze a new dynamic within European defense cooperation, with a potential impact on innovation, cost reduction and efficiency in the development and acquisition of new weapons systems. It could also stimulate greater industrial and technological integration within the EU.

The Netherlands’ intention to join OCCAR is a significant step towards enhanced defense cooperation in Europe. This strategic move is not just a response to the current situation in Ukraine, but is part of a long-term vision of unity and strength in European defense, offering promising prospects for the Dutch and European defense industry.

War Wings Daily is an independant magazine.