NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg underlined the importance of strengthening transatlantic relations at an Inter-Parliamentary Conference, hosted by the Portuguese Parliament, on Wednesday.
“Strong transatlantic relations are the only way for our countries to address the great challenges of today and tomorrow,” he said.
Addressing parliamentarians, the Secretary General outlined the priorities of the NATO 2030 initiative to strengthen the Alliance, highlighted the strong cooperation between NATO and the EU, and thanked Portugal for championing strong NATO-EU relations. He also welcomed the recent US decision to join the project on military mobility, which can enable US and other NATO troops and equipment to move faster across Europe.
He stressed that parliamentarians can help reinforce the ties between Europe and North America and push for more ambitious and practical joint efforts between NATO and the European Union. “Strengthening transatlantic relations and working hand-in-hand is the right thing to do,” he said.
You can read the Secretary General’s speech here, an excerpt is shown below.
“As I have stated many times, I welcome EU efforts on defence. And the fullest possible involvement of non-EU Allies in PESCO and the European Defence Fund. I also welcome the recent US decision to join the project on military mobility, which is a flagship of NATO-EU cooperation. This can enable US and other NATO troops and equipment to move faster across Europe. For instance to reinforce our NATO battlegroups in the Baltic Sea region.
A European Union that spends more on defence and new capabilities, and that reduces the fragmentation of the European defence industry, is not only good for European security. It is also good for transatlantic security. But European unity cannot replace transatlantic unity. And the European Union cannot defend Europe alone. More than 90 percent of EU citizens live in a NATO country. But EU members provide only 20 percent of NATO’s defence spending.
It is not only about money. It is also about geography. Iceland and Norway in the North are gateways to the Arctic. Turkey in the south borders Syria and Iraq. And in the west, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom link together both sides of the Atlantic. All of these countries are critical for the defence of Europe.
And most of all, it is about politics. Any attempt to divide Europe from North America will weaken NATO. But it will also divide Europe. Only a strong NATO can keep our almost one billion people safe in a more dangerous world. So I do not believe in Europe alone. Or North America alone. I believe in Europe and North America together. In NATO. In strategic solidarity.”