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Investing in defence

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We are living in an unsafe world. Armed conflicts both close to home, in Ukraine and Gaza, and further away in the world are causing many casualties, including among the civilian population. At the same time, democracies across the world are suffering under tyrannical leaders. Freedom as we have known it since World War II is no longer a matter of course. To protect our freedom and that of others, we need the means to defend ourselves in Europe.

PME invests its participants' pension money, because a good pension requires a good return. We also invest in the defence industry. But this is subject to conditions. We do not invest in companies that produce weapons that cause a lot of damage to civilians, either during or after a war. That is why we blacklist producers of nuclear arms, land mines, cluster bombs and white phosphorus. We also do not invest in companies that produce fire arms for consumers.  

But we do invest in defence companies. I don't understand recent statements from politicians and generals that pension funds are part of the problem in European defence. That's a case of the world being turned upside down.

For many years, governments in the Netherlands and Europe severely cut their defence expenditure. We thought we were safe and that a small army would be sufficient. European countries preferred to spend their money on other things. And when you don't buy arms, the defence industry will dwindle. And for that industry to grow again, you will have to place orders and be prepared to invest in a country's own defence. If that requires additional investment, we and other pension funds are willing to consider that. But always on two conditions: a good return for our participants, no investments in dubious weapons.    

Eric Uijen
Chairman of the executive board of PME