Reuniunea ministrilor apararii din NATO ce a avut loc joi si vineri la Bruxelles a generat decizii importante pentru apararea aliata, in perspectiva Summit-ului din 11-12 Iulie.
Statele membre NATO estimează că vor spori cheltuielile în domeniul apărării cu aproape 4% în 2018 faţă de anul precedent, a declarat joi la Bruxelles secretarul general al NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, în contextul în care miniştrii ai apărării din cadrul NATO au aprobat noi măsuri de consolidare a Alianţei, relatează dpa.
Miniştrii apărării din NATO s-au întâlnit la Bruxelles cu doar o lună înaintea unui summit NATO în cadrul căruia liderii Alianţei urmează să semnaleze hotărârea lor pentru a răspunde noilor ameninţări, în special din partea Rusiei, şi, de asemenea, să reasigure Statele Unite ale Americii de voinţa lor de a cheltui mai mult pentru apărare.
“Deciziile luate astăzi deschid calea pentru un summit de succes în iulie, cu mai multe investiţii, o împărţire mai echitabilă a sarcinilor şi o poziţie de apărare consolidată”, a spus Stoltenberg.
Potrivit acestuia, cheltuielile în domeniul apărării ale Canadei şi aliaţilor europeni sunt preconizate să aibă o creştere reală de 3,8% în 2018 în comparaţie cu anul precedent, devenind al patrulea an consecutiv în care statele aliate exceptând SUA cresc cheltuielile pentru apărare.
Chestiunea cheltuielilor din domeniul apărării a fost în mod repetat adusă în atenţie de către Statele Unite, care au cel mai mare buget pentru apărare din Alianţă. Preşedintele Donald Trump a fost în mod deosebit deschis în cererea sa către Canada şi aliaţii europeni de a cheltui mai mult în domeniul apărării.
“Preşedintele Trump a salutat aceste cifre pentru că a recunoscut cu adevărat că acest lucru este un progres”, a spus Stoltenberg.
Aliaţii au convenit în 2014 să crească cheltuielile pentru apărare până la 2% din Produsul Intern Brut (PIB) până în 2024.
Ministrul german al apărării, Ursula von der Leyen, a declarat că ţara sa susţine pe deplin obiectivul NATO de a cheltui 2% din PIB pentru apărare, adăugând că Berlinul face progrese în această direcţie.
Cererea de a cheltui mai mult şi actualizarea capacităţilor de apărare survin în principal din cauza ameninţării din ce în ce mai mari din partea Rusiei, ca urmare a invadării Peninsulei Crimeea, în 2014, şi a sprijinului acordat de Moscova separatiştilor din estul Ucrainei.
În timpul reuniunii de două zile care a început joi, miniştrii apărării din NATO au aprobat o nouă iniţiativă, numită “‘Four Thirties”, care va permite NATO să mobilizeze 30 de batalioane, 30 de escadroane şi 30 de nave de luptă în 30 de zile. Aceasta ar include în jur de 30.000 de militari, 300 de avioane şi cel puţin 30 de nave sau submarine.
“Aceasta ne arată hotărârea noastră de a insufla o necesitate de a fi pregătiţi în cadrul Alianţei”, a spus Stoltenberg.
Miniştrii au dat, de asemenea, aprobarea oficială pentru noi centre de comandă în oraşul german Ulm şi în oraşul Norfolk din Statele Unite, fiind preconizată o creştere de peste 1.200 de posturi.
“Aceste cartiere generale vor fi esenţiale pentru întărirea Alianţei”, a spus Stoltenberg, adăugând că noile centre de comandă se vor asigura că NATO are “forţele corespunzătoare în locurile potrivite la timpul potrivit.’
Pe lângă chestiunea bugetară, aliaţii se confruntă cu alte câteva probleme transatlantice care ameninţă să umbrească summitul din iulie. Între acestea se află deciziile SUA de a se retrage din acordul nuclear cu Iranul şi de a impune tarife la importurile de oţel şi aluminiu din ţările Uniunii Europene.
Stoltenberg a admis de asemenea că “există diferenţe” între SUA şi aliaţii săi europeni, dar şi între ţările UE în ceea ce priveşte viitorul Europei, apreciind că aceasta nu este “nimic nou”.
“Cred că ceea ce am învăţat şi am văzut din istorie este că NATO este capabilă să rămână unită în jurul misiunii noastre de bază şi să ofere apărare colectivă, capacitate de disuasiune – faptul că ne protejăm unul pe celălalt”, a spus secretarul general al NATO, scrie Agerpres.
Prima zi a reuniunii miniștrilor apărării din statele membre ale NATO, de la Bruxelles, din 7 iunie, a constituit un prilej de evaluare a progresului înregistrat în procesul de adaptare a Alianței la provocările complexe ale mediului actual de securitate, ca urmare a deciziilor Summit-urilor din Țara Galilor și Polonia.
Deciziile adoptate de miniștrii apărării reprezintă o etapă decisivă în pregătirea Summit-ului NATO din luna iulie, în vederea fundamentării unei apărări coerente a întregii Alianțe, de o manieră omnidirecțională. Acestea vizează realizarea unei posturi de descurajare și apărare eficiente, coerente și credibile pe baza adaptării Structurii de Comandă a NATO, consolidarea capacității de reacție a forțelor ținând cont de Inițiativa de creștere a gradului de operativitate și răspuns, întărirea posturii maritime, precum și îmbunătățirea abordării strategice a dimensiunii sudice a Alianței.
O importanță deosebită a fost acordată întăririi graduale a posturii de apărare, ca rezultat al implementării unei game largi de măsuri de asigurare, de creștere a capacității operaționale a Alianței, precum și de consolidare a profilului de descurajare prin intermediul prezenței aliate înaintate și a Forței de Răspuns a NATO.
În perspectiva Summit-ului din luna iulie, ministrul Mihai Fifor a evocat importanța implementării în totalitate a deciziilor adoptate în cadrul aliat, făcând referire în special la necesitatea unei abordări coerente, la nivel strategic, a prezenței înaintate de pe întregul flanc estic, inclusiv în regiunea Mării Negre, din perspectiva planificării, instruirii, desfășurării exercițiilor, precum și a exercitării actului de comandă.
Un alt subiect al agendei a fost reprezentat de partajarea echitabilă a responsabilităților în cadrul NATO (burden-sharing), în termeni de cheltuieli pentru apărare, capabilități și contribuții la operațiile și misiunile Alianței. Cu acest prilej, ministrul Fifor a evidențiat contribuțiile semnificative ale României la efortul comun de menținere a solidarității și unității transatlantice, pe toate cele trei paliere de efort.
În contextul proiectării stabilității – o altă dimensiune majoră în procesul de adaptare a Alianței, ministrul român al apărării a evocat necesitatea utilizării mecanismelor nou create, inclusiv pentru partenerii din Estul Europei și Balcanii de Vest. De asemenea, pe timpul discuțiilor referitoare la eforturile NATO de creștere a capacităților de apărare şi de instruire a Forțelor de Securitate Irakiene, ministrul român a evidențiat importanța sprijinului subsumat proiectării stabilității, pe care Alianța îl poate acorda, și a exprimat încrederea că acest obiectiv va fi implementat în urma unei decizii favorabile, cu ocazia Summit-ul NATO din 11-12 iulie.
În marja ministerialei de la Bruxelles, Mihai Fifor a participat la reuniunea miniștrilor apărării din statele contributoare la Conceptul Națiunii Cadru (Framework Nation Concept), prezidată de omologul din Germania, Ursula von der Leyen. În context, ministrul apărării naționale a reconfirmat angajamentul României pentru dezvoltarea de capabilități militare necesare Alianței pentru conducerea misiunilor și operațiilor NATO și a exprimat importanța asigurării interoperabilității forțelor aliate.
La ministeriala apărării, ce se desfășoară la cartierul general al Alianței Nord-Atlantice, ministrul apărării naționale, Mihai Fifor, a avut vineri, 8 iunie, o reuniune bilaterală cu secretarul britanic al apărării, Gavin Williamson.
Agenda discuțiilor a vizat relațiile foarte bune de cooperare în domeniul apărării dintre cele două țări, cu accent pe contribuția militară britanică în România. În context, ministrul Mihai Fifor a apreciat implicarea activă a Marii Britanii în misiunile de poliție aeriană și prezența navală constantă în Marea Neagră, demonstrând angajamentul pentru întărirea posturii de descurajare și apărare a NATO în această regiune.
Cei doi oficiali au subliniat necesitatea întăririi cooperării în domeniul instruirii în comun a trupelor, educației, medicinei militare, apărării cibernetice și contracarării amenințărilor de tip hibrid, respectiv dezvoltarea cooperării în domeniul industriei de apărare. În acest sens, miniștrii român și britanic vor semna, în perioada imediat următoare, un Memorandum de Înțelegere între România și Marea Britanie care să pună bazele unor proiecte comune concrete de cooperare în domeniul apărării.
Secretarul britanic al apărării a subliniat că România constituie un factor de stabilitate regională și are un aport substanțial în asigurarea securității în regiunea Mării Negre și a Balcanilor de Vest. În context, oficialul britanic a afirmat că țara sa susține eforturile României în cadrul aliat, analizând inclusiv posibilitatea participării, cu forțe terestre, la Brigada Multinațională de la Craiova, în cadrul prezenței înaintate adaptate.
Un alt subiect al discuției a vizat sprijinul acordat de cele două state pentru dezvoltarea parteneriatelor Alianței cu Republica Moldova și Ucraina, în actualul context regional de securitate.
În ceea ce privește ieșirea Marii Britanii din Uniunea Europeană, ministrul Fifor a asigurat că România va continua să dezvolte relația specială cu partenerul britanic, inclusiv în ceea ce privește dimensiunea securității și apărării spațiului euro-atlantic.
La finalul întrevederii, cei doi oficiali au convenit asupra intensificării contactelor la nivel înalt prin organizarea, în acest an, a unor vizite oficiale în România și Marea Britanie, pentru a da un semnal puternic cu privire la angajamentele comune, în context bilateral și aliat.
COMUNICATUL NATO – CONFERINTA DE PRESA A SECRETARULUI GENERAL
We have just finished a very productive meeting of NATO Defence Ministers.
The first in our new headquarters.
We have decided further steps to strengthen our shared security.
And boost defence and deterrence against threats from any direction.
We are adapting the NATO Command Structure, the military backbone of our Alliance.
Today, ministers agreed to strengthen the new command structure by more than 1,200 personnel.
We also agreed that our new Joint Force Command for the Atlantic will be based at Norfolk, Virginia in the United States.
And that a new Enabling Command will be based in Ulm in Germany.
To ensure we have the right forces in the right places at the right time.
These headquarters will be essential for Alliance reinforcements.
Across the Atlantic and across Europe.
And I thank the United States and Germany for their leadership in hosting these commands.
Ministers also agreed a NATO Readiness Initiative, the so-called ‘Four Thirties’.
This is not about new forces.
But about increasing the readiness of the forces our nations already have.
Today, Allies committed, by 2020, to having 30 mechanised battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat vessels, ready to use within 30 days or less.
This shows our determination to instill a culture of readiness across the Alliance.
We also addressed burden sharing. Which underpins everything that we do. Allies are making real progress on all aspects of burden sharing. Cash, capabilities and contributions.
When it comes to cash, today I can announce the first estimated figures for 2018.
As you can see from this chart, we now have four consecutive years of real increases in defence spending. All Allies have stopped the cuts. All Allies are increasing defence spending. More Allies are spending 2% of GDP on defence and the majority of Allies now have plans to do so by 2024. Across European Allies and Canada, we expect a real increase this year of 3.8%. This means that, since 2014, European Allies and Canada will have spent additionally 87 billion dollars on defence. When it comes to capabilities, Allies have committed to investing 20% of their defence spending on major equipment. This year, fifteen Allies are expected to meet the guideline. And I count on more to do so in the coming years.
Allies have also stepped up their contributions to NATO missions and operations.
But of course, we still have more work to do. Burden sharing will be a key theme of our Summit next month. And I expect all Allies to continue their efforts. Ministers also addressed the progress we are making in cyber defence. Following the cyber pledge made at the Warsaw Summit in 2016, Allies have enhanced their cyber capabilities. We have also decided to set up a Cyber Operations Centre, as part of the new Command Structure. And having agreed the principles last year, we have now agreed a framework for the integration of sovereign cyber effects into Alliance operations and missions. This supports NATO’s overall deterrence and defence. Because all crises today have a cyber dimension. And we must be as effective in cyberspace as we are on land, at sea and in the air.
The decisions we have taken today pave the way for a successful Summit in July, with more investment, more equitable burden sharing and a strengthened defence posture.
We are adapting NATO for the future.
And with that, I am ready to take your questions.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: And please introduce yourselves and your outlet. Let’s start in the first row, please?
Question: Good evening. Just two questions, if I may. The first one is on Italy and Russia because President Vladimir Putin said he was glad that something is moving in the EU on the sanctions. I wonder if you have any comment about this. And the second one is, may you please make a point on Italy commitments on defence spending? I mean are they on the right track and do you expect the new government to make good on the promises taken? Thanks.
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: Italy is a valued and important Ally and Italy is contributing to our shared security in many different ways. I welcome that Italy has started to increase defence spending, but I also welcome the fact that Italy is contributing to NATO missions and operations in many different ways. Italy is one of the countries with the largest contributions to our missions and operations, for instance, in Afghanistan where Italy is one of the lead nations. But also to our maritime operations. In Kosovo and elsewhere, we see Italy contributing with professional, committed personnel which we really appreciate. And I would also like to highlight the fact that Italy is hosting, is a host nation for different NATO facilities, like the Joint Force Command in Naples and also the Sigonella base and other NATO facilities.
Then on the sanctions, I would say that NATO is not aiming at isolating Russia. Actually, we strive for a better relationship with Russia and the whole Alliance stands behind what we call a dual-track approach to Russia, which is about deterrence defence, but also about dialogue because Russia is our neighbour, Russia is here to stay and we need to try to improve our relationship with Russia. At the same time, I believe that the sanctions are important because they send a clear message to Russia that when they violate international rules, when they violate the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of a neighbour, as they have done in Ukraine, then it has consequences. And that’s the reason why the international community has responded with sanctions, and I support that. The sanctions are not, you know, decided by NATO but NATO Allies have welcomed and supported the sanctions because it has to have a cost, it has to have a consequence, when international rules are violated.
Then I look forward to meet the Italian Prime Minister on Monday and also the Foreign Minister and Defence Minister, so I look forward to go to Italy and to have a meeting with the new government. And I congratulate the Prime Minister with his appointment.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: BBC, please.
Question [BBC]: Yes, Secretary General, thank you very much. Jonathan Marcus from the BBC. Two questions: Quick point on the spending; the last bar in the chart you put up had obviously gone down, there was a trend upwards and the last bar had gone downwards. Is that just a blip for that particular year or are you worried that the trend in increased spending… thank you, the trend in increased spending is tailing off? And then the second question; there’s an awful lot of emphasis on mobility and reinforcement and so on. Of course, an alternative approach is to actually have forward-basing. Would you make some comment on the document that came out of the Polish Defence Ministry, their desire apparently to have a US division forward- based in Poland? Is that something that has been discussed within NATO circles today?
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: Spending in 2018 is going up. It’s green and it’s plus almost 4%, so we continue to increase. And the increase in 2018 comes on top of the increase we had in 15, 16 and 17. So, I think if… so, this is about continued increase on top of the increase we have already seen. And this is in stark contrast to what we saw before NATO made the Defence Investment Pledge. Because then actually defending… spending was going down, now it’s going up, also in 2018, and it’s a substantial increase in real terms.
Second, this is the first estimate and in the previous years we have seen that the figures have improved throughout the year. So, of course we don’t know for certain, but if we follow the same pattern as we for instance saw last year, then the increase will be even stronger at the end of the year. So, I underline the importance of… that we continue to do more to strengthen, or to increase the increase further. But this is plus, this is more, this is increase on top of the increase we have already seen.
Then there was no discussion about any… the Polish proposal, but what we have seen is that NATO has increased its presence in the eastern part of the Alliance, including in Poland, over the last years. For the first time in NATO’s history, we have combat troops, or we have battlegroups in the Baltic region and in Poland. We have a US-led battlegroup in Poland and of course we have also other kinds of presence in Poland, with different commands, including in Szczecin. And we have… we are now actually in the process of building the missile defence site in Poland. So, there is NATO presence in Poland in different ways. What we see is that the US is increasing their presence in Europe, and that’s part of NATO’s collective defence. We have seen 40% increase in US funding, just under the Trump… in the period that Trump has been President, for what they call the European Reassurance Initiative, with more troops and more exercises, more prepositioned equipment. So, there is an increase of US presence and an increase of NATO presence in the eastern part of the Alliance and I welcome that because that shows that the transatlantic bond, the North America… the presence of North America in Europe is not going down, it’s actually going up.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: OK, we’ll go to Reuters in the last row, please.
Question: Thanks, Oana. Robin Emmott from Reuters. You talked about wanting to have a successful Summit. Do you feel that these numbers that you’ve presented, and based on your trip to Washington, will be enough to mollify President Trump, given his strong focus on the 2%? Thank you.
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: President Trump has welcomed these figures because he has really recognised that this is progress, that this is more money for defence across Europe and in Canada. And he has spoken about that money is pouring in, with reference to these figures, showing that defence spending has started to increase.
And we speak about that we have really turned a corner because until recently defence spending was going down, now we have four years of increase. All Allies have stopped the cuts, all Allies have started to increase, more Allies will spend 2% of GDP on defence this year, and the majority have put forward plans. I’m not saying that this is enough, but we didn’t promise to be at 2% within the year, we promised to stop the cuts, gradually increase and then move towards spending 2% of GDP within a decade. And we have started this. This is a good start. We need to do more. We need to have further increases, but this is a good start where we see that European Allies are stepping up, and I welcome that.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: OK. We’ll go to the lady in the second row.
Question: Ukrainian Media Inter. I have a little follow-up on Italy, where a newly-appointed minister raised today a question about lifting sanctions. And the main question is about Ukraine, whether you have any understanding in which format the meeting Ukraine-NATO can take place in the framework of the Summit in July? Thank you.
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: President Poroshenko will be invited to the NATO Summit. We haven’t yet decided the exact formats and the exact types of meeting, but he will be invited. Not least because we also have… we have decided already that we will have a meeting of the Resolute Support partners. So, it remains to be seen exactly what kind of formats we will have at the Summit, but President Poroshenko is invited.
Then, I think that it is for the new Italian Minister to say what she said during the meeting, it’s not for me to, in a way, refer to specific interventions. I welcomed Minister Trenta because this was her first meeting in a NATO Ministerial, but I can say that there was no discussion about sanctions in the meeting.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: We’ll go to the gentleman over there. Thank you.
Question [Belarus Security Blog]: Thank you and good evening. Belarus Security Blog, I’m Andrei Porotnikov. I have a question about Eastern Flank. It’s very sensitive thing for my country, so the question is have NATO any plans to send new additional troops or forces to Poland and Baltic States? Thank you.
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: We have already increased our presence in the eastern part of the Alliance. Our focus now is on our ability to reinforce, if needed. So, that’s the reason why we have tripled the size of the NATO Response Force and also the reason why we today agreed on this Readiness Initiative. But then we speak about forces which are in their home countries. The NATO Response Force is based on, you know, contributions from different Allies, but the forces are in their home countries, but then they can move quickly, if needed. So, the focus of NATO now is on how can we reinforce any part of the Alliance, if needed, in the east or the south or the west or north or wherever it’s needed, with our… with NATO Response Force, but also with the forces which we now are going to identify as part of the Readiness Initiative. Also, the changes we are making in the Command Structure is very much about reinforcements, both the Atlantic Command and Support Command in Germany is about our ability to move forces. So, that’s the focus of NATO now, the ability to reinforce, if needed.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: OK. Gentleman over there. Thank you.
Question: Thank you, Mr Secretary General. This is Mehmet Solmaz from Turkey’s Daily Sabah. My question is regarding a recent court decision from Greece. Previously, four of eight Turkish soldiers who were participated in the attempted failed coup in 2016 were released and in the… in the previous few days we have seen that the remaining four have also been released, making it all… all the soldiers who fled the country with a military helicopter to Greece were all released now. Do you have a message to… especially to Greece? And do you think these kind of steps undermine security cooperation between the two NATO Allies, Turkey and Greece? Thank you.
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: So, we are aware of the challenges and I have discussed this both with President Erdoğan in Ankara, but also this is something I have discussed with the Greek government and representatives from the Greek government to the different ministries. I think that my main message today is the importance of showing your restraint and calm, because it is important to try to solve these issues and therefore restraint and calm is my most important message today.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: Agence France-Presse.
Question [Agence France-Presse]: [Asked in French]
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: Many ministers highlighted the importance of NATO unity and that we have to stay united, especially when we see that Russia tries to divide us. And therefore unity within the Alliance is our most important message as we prepare for the upcoming Summit next month. And that was stressed and underlined by several ministers, or many ministers in the meeting today. At the same time, we all recognise that there are differences, disagreements between NATO Allies on issues like trade, the Iran deal or climate change. But we have seen before that despite these kind of differences, NATO has always been able to unite around our core task, and that is to protect each other. And that’s also what we see now. There are differences, but NATO stands united. And not only do we see a NATO which is united, but we see actually a NATO which is able to strengthen our cooperation and transatlantic bond. Because, despite the differences we see between NATO Allies, we see… on issues like trade, we see a NATO which is delivering on strengthening our collective defence, the biggest reinforcement to our collective defence since the end of the Cold War, stepping up our efforts to fight terrorism and where we see that European NATO Allies are investing more in defence, Canada is investing more, and then we see that United States is increasing their presence in Europe. So, I recognise that there are differences on issues like trade, but at the same time I see a NATO which is delivering on strengthening the transatlantic bond and strengthening our collective defence.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: Thank you very much. This concludes this press conference. We’ll see you tomorrow. Thank you.
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: Thank you.
Înaltul reprezentant al Uniunii Europene pentru politica externă şi de securitate, Federica Mogherini, a declarat vineri că o apărare europeană ‘mai puternică’ este ‘fundamentală’ pentru NATO şi a adăugat că, din acest motiv, ambele organizaţii şi-au intensificat colaborarea în ultimii ani, relatează EFE.
‘O apărare europeană mai puternică este relevantă, mai mult decât relevantă, este fundamentală pentru NATO şi, prin urmare, cooperarea noastră creşte atât de mult. În acelaşi timp, ne intensificăm activitatea de apărare a Uniunii Europene’, a declarat Mogherini la sosirea sa în a doua zi a reuniunii miniştrilor apărării din cadrul Alianţei la Bruxelles.
Vineri, miniştrii vor aborda cooperarea între UE şi NATO după ce în decembrie trecut conveniseră asupra a 32 de noi acţiuni concrete, de la schimbul de informaţii în lupta împotriva terorismului până la adaptarea infrastructurilor pentru a facilita o mobilitate mai bună şi mai rapidă a trupelor şi echipamentului militar aliat în Europa.
Blocul comunitar a pus de asemenea accentul pe problemele de apărare în ultimele luni, după adoptarea unor măsuri izolaţioniste şi unilaterale de către Statele Unite şi ca urmare a amestecului Rusiei în chestiunile interne ale unor ţări de pe Bătrânul Continent.
Cu privire la mobilitatea mai mare a trupelor şi a capacităţilor de reacţie rapidă în cadrul Uniunii Europene, Federica Mogherini a subliniat că acest aspect este ‘esenţial’ pentru securitatea comunităţii.
‘Acesta este un exemplu foarte concret al modului în care activitatea de apărare a UE aduce beneficii NATO’, a declarat Mogherini.
Ea a menţionat de asemenea cooperarea cu Alianţa în domeniul securităţii cibernetice pentru a face faţă ameninţărilor hibride şi în ‘teatre de operaţiuni’ precum Irak, unde UE asistă sectorul de securitate şi unde coordonarea cu NATO ‘merge foarte bine’, potrivit Federicăi Mogherini citata de Agerpres
MESAJUL LUI STOLTENBERG PE COOPERAREA NATO-UE
We just finished a productive meeting on NATO-EU cooperation. We were joined by High Representative Federica Mogherini and by our colleagues from Finland and Sweden.
Over the past two years, NATO and the European Union have achieved an unprecedented level of cooperation. This is natural. We have many shared members. We have shared interests and challenges and more than 90% of EU citizens live in a NATO country. So we have been working together on 74 concrete areas of cooperation. Including hybrid and cyber, maritime operations, fighting terrorism, exercises and military mobility and women, peace and security. The progress has been substantial. For example, our organisations now exchange real-time warnings about cyber-attacks and malware. We have stepped up our cooperation to enhance training, exercises and strategic communications to counter hybrid threats. And NATO and the EU are cooperating on maritime operations.
In the central Mediterranean, our Operation Sea Guardian is supporting the EU’s Operation Sophia. And in the Aegean, NATO and the EU are cooperating to counter people smuggling. We discussed how NATO and the European Union could cooperate even more closely going forward. In July, I plan to sign a new joint declaration with President Tusk and President Juncker. To set out a shared vision for how we will continue to address our most pressing security challenges. Military mobility is one area that will become a flagship in our cooperation. Both NATO and the EU have an interest in making it happen and both of us can make tangible contributions. We need to deal with a wide range of issues – from legislation to infrastructure. So I have recently shared with my EU counterparts and all NATO Allies our infrastructure requirements for transportation, including for bridges, roads and runways. And ultimately it is for our nations to make the decisions that will enable us to move across Europe as quickly as we need to, in an unpredictable security environment.
We also discussed what more we can do to complement each other’s efforts in the south.
For example, both NATO and the EU are increasing our presence in Iraq. The EU is rightly focusing on the civilian security sector.
While NATO’s focus is on capability building of the Iraqi defence and security structures.
The professionalization of the military education system, and training the trainers for the military. Robust coordination and consultation between NATO and the EU will help ensure that complementarity continues. With our teams working closely together. Which will help us meet the needs of our Iraqi partners and support them to ensure that ISIS does not return.
We also heard from Vice President Mogherini about the EU’s broader efforts on defence. This will include more investment, better capabilities, and fairer burden-sharing. I welcome these steps. Taken forward in the right way, NATO-EU cooperation and EU defence efforts can enhance security for all of us.
And with that, I am ready to take your questions.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: OK, we’ll go to the front row.
Question: Thank you. Mr Secretary General, two questions: First, I have noticed that in your recent comments you mentioned several times the concept of forward presence. Zooming in, in the Eastern Flank, we… until now, we had enhanced forward presence in Poland and the Baltics and tailored forward presence in Romania and Bulgaria. Now it seems more coherent. In practical terms, what does this conceptual shift means about forward presence? And for NATO-EU cooperation and the joint declaration, did you agree on any specifics regarding military mobility? Thank you.
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: I don’t know if I fully understood what you meant by the shift in the concepts.
Question: I meant that since the Warsaw Summit we had an enhanced presence for Poland and the Baltic States, and a tailored forward presence in the south-east part of the Alliance. Now you mentioned several times in your speeches, even yesterday, about the forward presence in the Alliance, in the entire Alliance, but I was asking specifically about the eastern part.
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: OK. Now, what we have done is that we have adapted NATO and the NATO defence posture in many different ways and we have done it step by step. And this is partly about increasing the forward presence in the eastern part of the Alliance, in the Baltic countries and Poland, but we also have what we call a tailored forward presence in the Black Sea region. Then, the main focus now is… has been on our ability to reinforce. And that is partly linked to the tripling of the size of the NATO Response Force, but also related to what we agreed yesterday, to have what we call the four 30s, 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons, 30 battleships, ready within 30 days or less. They of course can move in any direction, depending on where there is a need, in the south or in the east or wherever. So, this is about NATO’s ability to respond to threats and challenges coming from… or stemming from any direction. So, this is about NATO’s deterrence and defence. We have increased our presence in the eastern part of the Alliance, but we have also increased our ability to move in all directions if needed.
Then on military mobility, which is actually linked to that. To be sure that we are able to reinforce, we have to be able to move forces, and therefore much of what we now do is linked to that by, for instance establishing the new Atlantic Command, the new Support Command in Europe, which will plan exercise for the movement of forces, for reinforcements, but also military mobility, which is very much linked to infrastructure, but also to remove legal hindrances, customs, bureaucracies, so we can easily move forces across Europe. It should be easy to move forces from Toulouse to Tallinn, if needed. And what we have done now is that we have started the process. The EU has put forward an action plan with also some funding for investing in infrastructure. It’s important that those investments, in bridges, in roads and tunnels, are coherent with the needs for moving NATO military equipment, personnel. And therefore, I also shared with President Juncker and President Tusk the NATO requirements and the EU and NATO are now working together, staff-to-staff level, to make sure that what we do on military mobility is fully coherent.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: Swedish Radio. Yeah, gentleman with glasses. Thanks.
Question [Swedish Radio]: Mr Secretary General, yesterday the Swedish government give the green light for Nord Stream 2. What do you think about the pipeline within the Baltic Sea? And a second question, if I may, what do you say about political tensions right now within NATO, between Allies like West Germany and France, according to this meeting here today, and even within the G7 group today? Thank you.
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: There are disagreements between NATO Allies, but in NATO we stand together. And what we have seen is that there are disagreements related to, for instance, trade, environment, the Iran Nuclear Deal, but that has not weakened NATO’s ability to unite around our core task, to defend and protect each other. Actually, we have seen the opposite. We have seen that in… or during the last years, where we have seen some disagreements, some different views, we have seen that NATO has been able to build up and to strengthen our deterrence and our defence and our unity. We see United States and Canada increasing their military presence in Europe and we see European Allies investing more in defence. So yes, there are different views, there are differences, but at the same time NATO has proven able to stand united and to continue to deliver credible deterrence and defence, and actually we see that the transatlantic bond within NATO has been strengthened over the last years. And let me also add that of course, these are differences on serious issues; trade. But at the same time, it’s not the first time we have seen differences within NATO or between NATO Allies. We can go all the way back to the Suez Crisis in the 1950s and all the way up to the Iraq War in 2003, Allies had different views. But NATO has proven again and again that we are able to deal with those differences in a way which doesn’t weaken the Alliance, but actually what we see now is that we are strengthening the transatlantic bond within NATO.
The last thing on that is that, of course, the best thing would be if we were able to solve those differences on trade, on Iran, on climate. But as long as these differences remain unsolved, then my main responsibility is to make sure that NATO is strong and united, despite those differences. And that’s exactly what we have managed to do.
Then on the Nord Stream; there are different views about that among NATO Allies. What I am focused on and NATO is focused on is, of course, security of supply, which is also about diversification of supplies. And I also welcome that many Allies are investing in renewables, which also reduce dependency on imports and… but NATO… there are different views on Nord Stream among NATO Allies.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: Lady over there, first row.
Question: [Rudaw Media Network]: My question, Secretary General, thank you for this interview; what would be NATO’s role for the next phase in Iraq, for helping Peshmerga and Iraqi forces? And the second question is, Turkey is a NATO member and is talking about a military operation in north of Iraq, while Iraq says we… they haven’t been informed. Is NATO supporting this operation? If you know more information about that? Thank you very much.
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: NATO is a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS/Daesh. All NATO Allies are a member of the Coalition and NATO provides direct support to the Coalition and to Iraq. And the important thing is to make sure that all the progress that we have achieved in the fight against Daesh is preserved, that we are able to lock in those gains and make sure that Daesh is not able to come back. And the best way to do that is to provide support, to train local forces, to build local security structures, so they can make sure that Daesh is not coming back. Therefore, NATO has started some training activities for Iraq. We are now planning to scale that up with a new training mission. The details of that training mission is not yet clear, but we speak about some hundred trainers. We are going to train the trainers to enable… to help the Iraqis to help themselves, to build military schools, military academies, so they can build their own forces and educate their own soldiers and officers.
We are invited to be there by the Iraqi government and we will work with Iraqi government forces. At the same time, several NATO Allies are also providing training for the Peshmerga and several NATO Allies have stated clearly that they will continue to provide training. So, NATO Allies and the Coalition provide training for Peshmerga and for the government forces. NATO as an Alliance is providing training for the government forces.
When it comes to the relationship between Turkey and Iraq, I just welcome direct dialogue and contacts between the government in Ankara and the government in Baghdad to sort out all the issues in Northern Iraq.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: Associated Press. Second row.
Question [Associated Press]: Lorne Cook, Associated Press. Could you clarify for me, Secretary General, a little bit about the infrastructure requirements that you’ve asked of the European Union? My understanding on the other side of town is these are the kind of things that would be taken on board as we build new infrastructure. Obviously that doesn’t fix the problem of things that are too small or too light at the moment.
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: Well, first of all, we are able to move forces today. I mean there are bridges and roads and airports and runways which enable us to move forces today. So, we’re not starting at zero, scratch. But this is about the capacity, this is about numbers and so on. So, this will be partly about investing in new infrastructure and partly about upgrading existing infrastructure. Some of this will take some time. Some efforts can be done more quickly. And we speak partly about the physical investments and physical infrastructure, but we also… when we speak about military mobility, we also speak about, you know, customs, regulations, all that kind of legal issues which sometimes make it hard to move forces. And the reality is that if there is a conflict, then actually very much of the legal things will be in place for rapid movement of troops. It will be more challenging in times of crisis because then we don’t have all the legal provisions in place. So, it’s about making that more simple, so we can move forces to deter/to prevent a conflict.
Let me also underline one more thing and that is, of course, we appreciate very much the cooperation with the European Union. I have shared with President Junker and President Tusk the very detailed requirements, because of course we have to make sure that… NATO is also European, so we need to move forces across Europe and we speak about many Allies which are also EU members, so this should be possible to coordinate. But for NATO, this is partly something we do through the cooperation with the European Union, but NATO also relates directly with our member states. Some are EU members, some are not. Some can then go to the EU and perhaps get some economic support or help to implement the infrastructure investments. Others have to do it alone. For NATO, it’s not… it doesn’t… for us, it’s not decisive whether it’s EU-funded or national funded, the important thing is that the infrastructure is there, so we can move our forces.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: TASS, first row.
Question [TASS]: Thank you. Denis Dubrovin, TASS News Agency. Mr Secretary General, that’s about the fight against fake news. Recently, the Ukrainian government faked the death of the journalist, Arkady Babchenko, who later… who happened to be alive. So, my question is, would you discuss this issue in your contact with Ukrainian side? And are you still following the Skripal case which was mimicked by the Kiev and in which there is a total lack of any new evidence, proving the implications of Russia? Thank you very much.
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: So, first I would like to say that we are all relieved that Babchenko is alive. Second, I would like to underline that I regret that this incident may undermine trust in the free press and be used to fuel propaganda. And we are all very dependent on a free and independent press. That’s a vital component of any democracy. And I strongly also believe that the best way to make sure that we are not victims of fake news is that we have a free and independent press, a press that is asking the difficult questions, which are checking their sources and checking the facts. Of course, NATO can provide facts and figures, but in the long run, as free and democratic societies, we are totally dependent on a free and independent press. And therefore we strongly support a free and independent press which is also asking us difficult questions.
Then the Skripal case; we are still very concerned and we have no reasons to doubt the findings of the British government and we have also reacted, as many NATO Allies have reacted, with expelling Russian diplomats.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: Le Soir. Gentleman there.
Question [Le Soir]: Again, regarding the NATO-EU cooperation, do you expect in July more cooperation between the two organisations, in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, which could mean more cooperation against migration towards Europe?
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: That’s absolutely possible, but in July at our Summit, what I expect there is that President Juncker and President Tusk and I would sign, before the Summit, a joint declaration, where we outline the way forward on how we work together. We signed a similar declaration in connection, or before the Warsaw Summit, the NATO Summit in Warsaw in 2016, and since then we have really stepped up our cooperation. We have agreed 74 areas of cooperation, which also include maritime. And I think now, our focus is not to add on more proposals, but it is to make sure that we implement those we have already agreed. And maritime operations are… maritime operation is part of that. We have our Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean and we have our NATO presence in the Aegean Sea, helping to implement the agreement between the European Union and Turkey on the migrant and refugee crisis. Whether there is a need to step up, it’s a bit too early to say. That depends on developments and depends on requirements from member states. But NATO is there and NATO has shown before that we are able to step up when needed, for instance our Aegean deployment was something we were able to implement just 48 hours after we made the decision.
Oana Lungescu [NATO Spokesperson]: Thank you very much. This concludes this press point. We’ll see you after the Resolute Support meeting.
Jens Stoltenberg [NATO Secretary General]: Thank you.