Secretary General opens NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence in Vilnius
On the second day of a visit to Vilnius, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen officially inaugurated the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence together with the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaité.
“This Centre of Excellence is the right institution, at the right time, and at the right place”, the Secretary General said. “It will provide us with analyses on energy developments. It will give Allies and partners new opportunities for training and education. It will help to improve the energy efficiency in our armed forces. And it will help to make our defence ‘greener’ and smarter. This is not just about saving money. It's about saving lives, and saving the environment”, he added.
Describing energy security as a collective defence issue, the Secretary General said that the centre shows Lithuania’s commitment to developing and sharing expertise with Allies.
Addressing the presser together with President Grybauskaité, Mr Fogh Rasmussen also thanked her for her strong personal commitment to exercise Steadfast Jazz this autumn, which will ensure that the NATO Response Force is ready to defend any ally, deploy anywhere and deal with any threat.
The Secretary General also discussed defence spending and the wider NATO-EU agenda with Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius, Minister of Finance Rimantas Sadzius, Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius, Minister of Defence Juozas Olekas and other government officials.
Earlier in the day, he also addressed the Interparliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) organised by the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU. The Secretary General stressed that Europeans need to invest in a strong Europe, in a strong NATO and in a strong partnership between NATO and the European Union. “Our two organisations are on the same road and travelling towards the same destination – a Europe where our nations share responsibility for our security and remain a force for good in the world. As we travel, we must ensure that we don’t push each other off the road by pursuing similar projects. We don’t have the money for it, and our taxpayers don’t have the patience for it. Cooperation, not duplication, is the way to success”, he said.