Recently minister Frans Timmermans published a paper about the reorganizations in the field of international diplomacy. In the coming years the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will face far-reaching cuts, with its budget to be reduced by a quarter by 2018.
The network of missions abroad will be preserved as far as possible and made more flexible. Savings will be made on missions in Europe and more emphasis will be placed on missions in emerging economies. Further savings will be made on embassy buildings, and where possible, the Netherlands will share embassy premises with other EU countries. The consulates-general in Munich, Milan, Antwerp, Chicago and Osaka will be closed and their tasks distributed elsewhere.
In the area of consular services, the Ministry will set up a single telephone number that Dutch nationals abroad can call 24 hours a day if they require assistance. In addition, the system for issuing passports and visas will be digitised.
Before a debate with the minister about his plans the standing committee for foreign affairs invited experts and stakeholders to share their opinions in a public round table conference.