Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Press Point with the Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, 10 October 2013

  • 10 Oct. 2013
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  • Last updated: 11 Oct. 2013 10:13

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the joint press point with Evangelos Venizelos, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece

I would like to thank you, minister, for a fruitful and interesting discussion. And I would like to thank you for Greece’s enduring support to NATO, despite the tough economic choices you have to make.

This is a question for all of us : how to deal with increasing security threats, at a time when our budgets are under pressure.

The best answer to that question is cooperation: cooperation between NATO members. Cooperation with countries outside the Alliance. And cooperation with other international organisations, especially the European Union.

Greece plays a valuable role in all these areas.

You are taking part in in a number of projects with other Allies to provide more capabilities, at a cost we can afford. This is what we call Smart Defence.

You play a constructive role in building our cooperation with partner countries, especially those in the Middle East and North Africa.

And next year, you will take over the European Union’s rotating presidency at a pivotal moment in the evolution of Europe’s defence capabilities.

The European Council on defence in December this year is a real opportunity to create a stronger Europe.

And Greece, as the next EU presidency, will have a major role in turning those commitments into real capabilities.

This would be good for Europe. It would be good for Europe’s credibility around the world. And it would be good for NATO.

Because NATO is as strong as each of its members. So the stronger our members are, the stronger we will all be.

That is why I hope the European Council will produce real, tangible and lasting results.

And why I look forward to strong leadership from Greece, as we work to make Europe, and NATO, stronger.