NATO Secretary General launches his Annual Report for 2023

  • 14 Mar. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 14 Mar. 2024 14:25

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg launched his annual report for 2023 on Thursday (14 March 2024), which covers all aspects of the Alliance’s work over the past year.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

The Secretary General announced the results of NATO’s annual polling, which also surveyed participants from Finland and Sweden for the first time. Mr Stoltenberg said “the data is clear. Public support for NATO is extremely strong on both sides of the Atlantic. If a vote were held today, an overwhelming majority of citizens across Allied countries would vote in favour of NATO.” He added “in the United States, only 13 percent would vote against,” underlining that “over 80% of our citizens believe that North America and Europe must continue to work together for our shared security.” He underlined that these results indicate that “across the Alliance, support for NATO remains rock-solid.”

In 2023, Allies continued to provide unprecedented levels of support to Ukraine. Mr Stoltenberg said, “for the first time, a number of Allies also sent long-range systems, UK Storm Shadow and French SCALP missiles and Allies agreed to send F-16 aircraft.” He added that several Allies have now signed bilateral security agreements with Ukraine. “The Ukrainians are not running out of courage. They are running out of ammunition... This is a critical moment and it would be a grave, historic mistake to allow Putin to prevail. We cannot allow authoritarian leaders to get their way by using force.”

The Secretary General welcomed that 2023 was the ninth consecutive year of increased investment across Europe and Canada, amounting to “defence spending rising by an unprecedented 11%.” In 2024, Mr Stoltenberg highlighted that NATO Allies in Europe will invest a total of $470 billion in defence, amounting to 2% of their combined GDP for the first time. “This year, two-thirds of Allies will meet the 2% target, up from just three Allies in 2014.” he said. Mr Stoltenberg said that he expected Allies to take further steps to support Ukraine, to reinforce and resource NATO’s defences and deepen partnerships around the world at NATO’s 75th Anniversary Summit in Washington.

At the 2023 Vilnius Summit, Allies agreed a new Defence Production Action Plan to ramp up production, strengthen engagement with industry, and increase interoperability. The Secretary General highlighted that “since then, NATO has agreed contracts worth tens of billions of dollars for ammunition and key capabilities.” NATO has also further deepened its relations with partners in the Indo-Pacific, and the European Union. 

At a critical time for Euro- Atlantic security the Secretary General also underlined that Finland joined the NATO family last year and “just last week, Sweden became the 32nd Ally… NATO is now bigger and stronger.”

The Secretary General also noted that NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic – DIANA – is doubling its network of accelerators and test centres. These world-class sites on both sides of the Atlantic will focus on solving defence and security challenges, and sharpening NATO’s technological edge in areas ranging from artificial intelligence and cyber, to 5G, hypersonics, and autonomous systems.  

The Secretary General’s Annual Report for 2023 details NATO’s work and achievements throughout the year.