Our Bureau
09:18 AM, September 17, 2014
Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander

Netherlands King Willem-Alexander announced an increase in defence spending Wednesday as a result of global conflicts including the downing the MH17 flight over Ukraine.

The Dutch government will increase its defence spending by 100 million euros ($129 million) per year from 2015, the king said at his traditional opening of parliament speech, which this year marks the 200th anniversary of the Dutch kingdom.

The announcement "broke the trend" of previous defence cutbacks and savings, the king said.

The Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was en route between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur when it was blown out of the sky over separatist-held eastern Ukraine in mid-July, killing all 298 people on board, most of them Dutch.

Ukraine has accused the pro-Russian separatists of shooting it down with a surface-to-air missile supplied by Moscow. While Moscow categorically denies the accusations it points the point at Ukraine.

Willem-Alexander also highlighted the threats facing the Netherlands. "The situation in northern Iraq, Syria and Gaza is leading to tensions at home and feelings of helplessness and insecurity.”

"This is done based on growing tensions around the world and our responsibilities" as a country committed to global safety and security, said Willem-Alexander.

He also stressed a growing threat of radicalisation of young Muslims, with government tightening laws to prevent would-be jihadis from going to fight in Syria and Iraq, according to the Associated Press.

Next year the Dutch deficit will drop to 2.2 percent of its gross domestic product, also making further cutbacks unnecessary, Willem-Alexander said.

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