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Dutch to beef up embassy staff across EU as Brexit looms

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Dutch to beef up embassy staff across EU as Brexit looms

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(Reuters) - The Netherlands will expand diplomatic staff across European capitals to handle a greater workload, largely in anticipation of a British departure from the European Union, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

The expansion comes after years of downsizing the Dutch foreign service, during the austerity that followed the 2008 financial crisis.

The government has said it will spend 40 million euros (35.5 million pounds) by 2021 to boost staffing levels at its diplomatic missions worldwide.

Additional staff will now be hired in Budapest, Bucharest, Belgrade, Berlin, Brussels, Dublin, London, Paris, Pristina, Sarajevo, Skopje, Tirana, Zagreb and Vienna, spokesman Dirk-Jan Vermeij said.

The Netherlands had already said it will need up to 950 new customs officials in ports and airports in the event of a "hard" Brexit in which there is no new trade deal with the EU.

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch, editing by Larry King)

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