Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană addresses the Information and Documentation Centre in Moldova
Speaking at an online discussion on “NATO partnerships during the pandemic” organised by the non-governmental organisation Information and Documentation Centre in Moldova on Thursday (16 July 2020), NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană said that “tens of thousands of militaries have gone to help the civil part of our societies”, mentioning that military medical personnel have also been involved “in building field hospitals for the patients affected by COVID.”
Mr. Geoană highlighted that “solidarity within the Alliance has been incredibly strong with the Republic of Moldova” and Moldova has benefited from support through NATO arrangements for mutual help including the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre, as well as of bilateral help, including from Romania, the United States, Germany and Hungary. He said that many Allied countries have shown solidarity and “we continue to be active and vigilant in this area.”
Speaking about NATO’s partnerships, the Deputy Secretary General said that in times of the pandemic “we realize how much we need each other. Even for countries that have declared by their constitution like the Republic of Moldova their neutrality, neutrality does not mean isolation”. He stressed that NATO has more than 40 partnerships around the world, including with countries like Sweden, Finland, Austria, Switzerland and Ireland, who have chosen not to belong to a military Alliance.
“We have a wide range of partnerships that can represent a model: that each partner can mould based upon its needs” he said. Mr. Geoană stressed the importance of being “better prepared next time” by working together in order to learn the lessons from the pandemic. “I believe that this pandemic is an invitation to collaboration, an invitation to a partnership”, he said.
He said that lessons already learned during the pandemic show that “we need to increase our resilience as societies”. Mentioning the challenge of a growing number of disinformation campaigns, he said that professional journalism is part of the answer “because the only weapon we have against lies, conspiration theories, against untruth that is being propagated in the public” is truth, stressing that “truth can only reach the common citizens if we have an independent, free professional media.”
During the discussion, Mr. Geoană also thanked Republic of Moldova for its contribution to the NATO force in Kosovo – KFOR. “It is appreciated and it is useful for both sides”, he said, stressing that this was an opportunity for the Moldovan military to work together with NATO “in a concrete and practical mission”.