Secretary General chairs last-ever North Atlantic Council meeting in NATO’s original Brussels Headquarters building
The Secretary General today (Friday 27 April) concluded a meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers by noting that it was the final meeting of the North Atlantic Council to take place in the Headquarters building the Alliance has occupied since 1967.
Secretary General Stoltenberg marked the occasion by using a ceremonial gavel, originally donated to NATO in 1963 by the Icelandic Government.
Reflecting on the thousands of high-level meetings that have taken place in ‘Council Room 1’ – the home of NATO’s highest decision-making body – he praised the contributions of the “hundreds of distinguished diplomats and politicians” who have debated there over the last five decades.
Mr. Stoltenberg also evoked some of the historic discussions that the Headquarters has hosted – including in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and following the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
Quoting from a speech delivered in the Council by Vaclav Havel in 1991, he described the then Czech and Slovak President explaining that “as a boy he had been told again and again that NATO was a bastion of imperialism. A menace to peace. He went on to say that if there is a reason why Europe enjoys democracy and prosperity, then it is this Alliance. He called it the instrument of liberty and of our values.”
The Secretary General concluded by remarking on the significance of the Alliance’s move to a new Headquarters. He said it “signals that NATO continues to evolve as the world changes”, adding that “what will never change is our commitment to our values, and our determination to preserve peace and security.”
NATO staff are in the process of relocating to the new Headquarters building across the road. The move will be completed by the middle of June.