Secretary General praises NATO’s Open Door policy at enlargement anniversary event
NATO’s Open Door policy extends our shared area of peace and stability and enriches our Alliance with new voices, new experiences, and new capabilities, said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He delivered a keynote speech today (18 March) at a German Marshall Fund (GMF) event titled “NATO at seventy – post-Cold War enlargement and the future of Transatlantic security”.
This year, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland celebrate 20 years since joining NATO; Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia mark 15 years since becoming members, and Albania and Croatia – the 10th anniversary of their accession. The Secretary General praised their “great commitment to our Alliance”. This includes the contribution of brave and professional troops to NATO missions and operations from Afghanistan and Iraq to the Western Balkans, and to NATO’s multinational forces in the eastern part of the Alliance. Mr. Stoltenberg also paid tribute to those Allies who lead by example when it comes to burden-sharing by investing 2 percent of their GDP in defence.
“NATO’s Open Door and the enlargement of the European Union have helped spread freedom, democracy and human rights. And we must continue to work hard every day to uphold those values,” the Secretary General said.
“NATO enlargement is not a provocation. We respect the right of every sovereign nation to decide their own destiny, without force and without interference,” the Secretary General said, confirming that the Alliance’s door remains open. “We are welcoming one new member, the Republic of North Macedonia, already an invitee at NATO’s table,” he added.
The GMF event saw discussions and speeches by politicians, diplomats and senior analysts, including Radmila Šekerinska, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of North Macedonia. The foreign ministers from the celebrating countries, diplomats, business representatives and academics an also attended the conference.