“Massive employment cuts in Defence”, reads the front page of NRC Handelsblad. Dutch defence minister Hans Hillen is scheduled to present the government’s austerity programme on 8 April. The evening daily reports expected cuts of €1 billion to the country’s €8.5 billion annual defence budget, which will affect “around 10,000 jobs out of a total of 69,000”. “Half will be forced layoffs, while the other half will come from retirement”. Austerity measures also target military equipment and include plans to reduce the number of F-16 jets and mine-hunting ships. According to De Volkskrant, at the same meeting ministers will also discuss Foreign Affairs minister Uri Rosenthal’s project to close seven embassies and axe 300 civil servant positions.
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