NATO is launching a new investment fund worth €1 billion, which is expected to be officially activated at NATO's annual summit in July. The fund aims to militarize the civil sector by using the knowledge and skills of manufacturers, scientific institutions, and start-ups to develop technology with military and defence applications.
The fund, described by NATO as the “world’s first multi-sovereign venture capital fund”, will invest €1 billion into developing dual-use (civilian and military) emerging and disruptive technologies over a 15-year time frame. However, it demonstrates that NATO wants to permanently employ the European economy to the Russian border so they can collectively focus on the Ukrainian crisis.
It will also serve as preparation for any future war against Russia, something that is at great risk of eventuating considering Western efforts to deter Moscow from its special military operation in Ukraine have failed.
In the Ukrainian crisis, the material needs of the Ukrainian military are evident, and especially in preparation for any potential scenario of using NATO forces against Russia. This primarily refers to artillery, ammunition, rockets, bombs, air defence systems and drones. Due to these shortages, projects like this are being developed under the auspices of the NATO pact and are now becoming an investment fund for the economies of member states, depending on the ability of those countries to produce equipment needed for combat needs.
NATO approaches this project by effectively purchasing knowledge and engaging civil institutions, but also by opening various civil-military programs and projects. In addition, there are also investments in the so-called information war, which is part of the intelligence-reconnaissance activity, which is very important for modern warfare.
One NATO official told EURACTIV that the Alliance is looking to have a “competitive edge over strategic competitors”, an obvious reference to Russia.
The Netherlands already announced that it will house the fund. The country also announced that it will facilitate innovative startup companies by helping them find capital.
“We expect that housing this fund in the Netherlands will make it easier for innovative Dutch startups to find their way to capital, stimulating solutions for both societal and military problems,” the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs said in a statement.
For this reason, the specific technologies invested will include artificial intelligence, big-data processing, biotechnology and human enhancement, novel materials, quantum-enabled technologies as well as propulsion and space. Although the headquarters will likely be in Amsterdam, regional offices will also be established “across the Alliance […] given the wide geographic remit of the Fund”, according to a NATO press release.
It is recalled that the new fund was first announced last year, meaning that the latest announcement made by the Dutch government is a demonstration of a laid-out plan by NATO to bring European civilian structures to operate as if it were in a war time economic climate. This could suggest that NATO is preparing Europe for a much larger conflict with Russia.
However, these provocative actions by the Dutch government comes as the country has been gripped by a wave of strikes in the public and private sectors since the beginning of 2023, something unseen in such a manner for many years. Every week since January, Dutch workers have protested for better wages and living conditions.
On March 16, around 200,000 healthcare workers at 64 Dutch hospitals were on strike for a day, including at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital in Amsterdam, a leading facility for treating cancer patients. Doctors and healthcare workers in 48 departments of the facility went on strike for the first time ever.
Although the Dutch economy will not shrink this year, its growth will slow down, according to ABN Amro. The bank expects the economy to grow 1.2% this year and 1.3% in 2024, a miniscule amount compared to the 4% growth the Dutch economy enjoyed in the previous years. Persistent inflation will ensure that growth will remain low this year, with ABN Amro expecting consumer prices to rise by 4.4% this year and 4% in 2024.
The higher interest rates, keeping in mind the central banks are trying to curb inflation, also slow the Dutch economy. It costs more to borrow money, which has repercussions for the housing market and investments, ABN Amro said.
Yet, with the Netherlands having no security issues to contend with given its geography, it is voluntarily deepening its involvement in NATO structures aimed against Russia, and all at a time when citizens are protesting weekly and suffering from the Western-wide economic crisis.