The Netherlands has signified its intention to join a European association for joint production and acquisition of military weapons and equipment.
Known by its French acronym OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement), the group facilitates cooperative defense programs and delivers modern capabilities to nations to deter sophisticated threats.
It has an operational budget of 6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) and has managed over a dozen projects, including the FREMM multi-mission frigate and the Eurodrone.
According to Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren, joining OCCAR would better position the country’s defense industry to provide military assets locally and internationally.
It would also allow Amsterdam to participate in and compete more easily for various European defense projects initiated by the association.
Countries such as Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the UK are current members of OCCAR.
Developing a Strong European Industrial Base
The Dutch Ministry of Defense emphasized the importance of strategic cooperation amid increasing global conflicts.
The ongoing war in Ukraine alone underlines the need for a strong European industrial base for developing advanced weapons and equipment.
Amsterdam said it is the country’s ambition to play a pioneering role in encouraging regional defense cooperation, thus its intention to join OCCAR.
“Through lower costs and better efficiency, the organization increases European cooperation between participating countries in the development and purchase of new weapon systems,” the defense ministry stated.
“In this way, the Netherlands remains connected to the most important European partners and can realize equipment projects more quickly.”
The Netherlands will have to go through a parliamentary treaty procedure before joining. Then, current members of the association will assess its bid.