Generals, your excellency, ladies and gentlemen, esteemed colleagues,
I’m very happy and grateful to be here in Sintra representing the Netherlands, representing the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee.
First of all, I would like to thank Portugal for the warm welcome and for organising this meeting.
Secondly, I would like to congratulate Portugal with its successful EUROGENDFOR presidency.
Due to the excellent cooperation with the PHQ and the CIMIN Nations, Portugal’s efforts have taken EUROGENDFOR to a higher level.
For example, important steps have been taken in the collaboration between EUROGENDFOR and civilian CSDP missions, and a communication plan has been developed to enhance the visibility of EUROGENDFOR.
We have also made progress regarding the Force Capability Concept, and, due to the professional efforts by the GNR, Portugal organized a very successful live exercise in October.
This live exercise was a perfect example of professional and constructive collaboration between EUROGENDFOR member states.
Not only did it highlight the qualities of the participants in their different fields, it also gave them the opportunity to learn from one another and develop new skills.
During our upcoming presidency, we will continue to build on the initiatives that were started not just last year but also during earlier presidencies.
This year, the key concepts of future, focus and flexibility will be reflected in the goals we set ourselves.
One of these goals, and a vital one, is to define future EUROGENDFOR deployment scenarios.
We must continue to keep a close watch on what is happening in the world around us.
The world is developing at a rapid pace. Whether you look at migration, security or criminality, everything is global in nature.
And everything is interconnected.
That is why it is important to take an integral approach: so that different initiatives can complement each other.
This means that we must look to regional collaboration and to collaboration with parties outside of EUROGENDFOR, such as civilian partners and local authorities.
Working together allows us to learn from each other.
Each Gendarmerie Force brings its own approach, expertise, experiences and qualities.
In our network, these elements are combined to make us stronger.
We never stop learning: the world around us is ever-changing, and we will change along with it.
This year, the Netherlands is also presiding over the International Association of Gendarmeries and Police Forces with Military Status (FIEP) and the European Union Police and Civilian Services Training Programme (EUPCST).
We will examine whether we can forge links between these organisations and assess how to support each other the best way.
For that matter possibly a link with FRONTEX could also be established.
In addition, it is important that our aims align with the Civilian CSDP Compact that the EU recently developed.
This will help us position EUROGENDFOR as a privileged partner for international organisations.
Another goal for the EUROGENDFOR presidency is to further evolve the stand-by force and with that, build on the efforts of the Portuguese presidency.
The focus here will be on tailor-made, specialised teams where quality is more important than quantity.
These specialised teams must be flexible and ready to deploy quickly in crisis situations. They must include the specialist capabilities that are needed for EUROGENDFOR’s future deployment scenarios.
In this manner we can respond to transnational threats and challenges effectively.
There will be ever more demand for this in future.
Deployments abroad are becoming more diverse in nature, while at the same time we are facing an unusually high demand in our own countries.
What is the best way for us, as EUROGENDFOR, to use our limited resources to achieve our goals?
The answer lies in focusing on small-scale training programmes, for which working together with other partners and organisations is essential.
The Netherlands is aiming for a multidisciplinary, modular approach in order to pool expertise and facilitate such training programmes for EUROGENDFOR.
To achieve this, EUROGENDFOR needs to become more decisive and more flexible.
To that aim, we should try to reach consensus on the revision of the Financial System of EUROGENDFOR as soon as possible.
I invite you all to join the search for a shared vision so that we can strengthen EUROGENDFOR’s positioning and realise our ambitions.
Today, the key concepts of future, focus and flexibility are more important than ever.
EUROGENDFOR member states must work more closely together, but above all we must take an integral approach to all the opportunities for working together with others.
In the process, we will need to ask ourselves questions such as:
What developments are taking place in the world?
And what does this mean for the deployment of EUROGENDFOR?
Together, we are facing transnational challenges and threats. Working together will help us to achieve the higher goal: to protect what we value when the going gets tough.
Thank you for your attention.