Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivered remarks at the Körber Global Leaders Dialogue in Berlin, stressing the importance of NATO as the bedrock of European and transatlantic security.
The Secretary General used the speech to advise against relying on the European Union instead of NATO to defend Europe.
Speaking two days before the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, he said:
“The bond between Europe and North America made it possible to reintegrate Germany into the European and international community, to end the Cold War without a shot being fired, and to create the conditions for European integration.”
Offering caution, Stoltenberg added:
“Any attempt to distance Europe from North America will not only weaken the transatlantic Alliance, it is also risking dividing Europe itself. European unity cannot replace transatlantic unity. I strongly welcome efforts to strengthen European defence. Which can enhance capabilities and burden sharing within NATO.
But the European Union cannot defend Europe.
This is partly about military might. After Brexit, 80% of NATO’s defence expenditure will come from non-EU Allies. And Germany will be the only EU member leading one of NATO’s battlegroups in the east of the Alliance.
NATO’s position is clear. We will do whatever is needed to keep our citizens safe. But we will not mirror what Russia is doing. We do not want a new arms race. We do not want another Cold War. And we have no intention of deploying new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe.
NATO Allies remain committed to effective arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. And to open and meaningful dialogue with Russia.”
Read the Secretary General’s full speech here.