Elsevier - Netherlands | Thursday, November 19, 2009
Diplomacy must remain a national affair
With around 70,000 employees and expenses of roughly 500 million euros per year, the Netherlands has one of the largest diplomatic services in Europe, roughly 25 percent larger than other countries of the same size. According to a parliamentary iniative the service should be down-sized and embassies transferred to the EU. Saving expenses is a good thing, writes the liberal-conservative news magazine Elsevier, but not at any price: "Cynics who say that the main thing is for Dutch diplomats and politicians to preen and secure themselves the best jobs are probably right. This could all be done much more cheaply. And that will be necessary. ... But that doesn't mean that our diplomatic services can be transferred to the European Union. ... That would be silly. It is very smart to work with the embassies of other European countries in certain areas. But relinquishing our diplomacy to Brussels would mean doing away with another little bit of the Netherlands. And that would not serve our country's interests in the slightest."
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