They discussed the key aims for the Chicago Summit on May 20-21: setting the course for future engagement in Afghanistan; providing the Alliance with the capabilities it needs to deal with the full range of threats; and strengthening NATO’s network of partnerships across the globe.
The Secretary General thanked the government of Spain for its significant contribution to NATO-led operations and missions, including in Afghanistan, in the Mediterranean and off the Horn of Africa. Since joining NATO 30 years ago, Spain has become an integral member of the Alliance, Fogh Rasmussen said.
“Just one month from now, we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of your accession to NATO. And in that time, you have become a pillar of our Alliance," said the Secretary General.
Discussions also focused on partnerships, which are critical to the Alliance. The Chicago Summit will provide an excellent opportunity to underline NATO’s continued commitment to partnerships and interest in regional stability and security in the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region.
They also discussed the Smart Defence initiative, which will be a central part of the Chicago Summit. Smart Defence is key to bridging the gap between capabilities and defence requirements in times of austerity through a strengthened focus on prioritisation, specialisation and multinational cooperation.
“We have discussed the economic situation in Europe because economy and security are interlinked,” stressed the Secretary General. “A weak economy means fewer resources for security. Sound fiscal policies are also sound security policies. This is what we will discuss at the Chicago summit: how to provide security in a time of economic austerity.”