Remarks by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
at the ceremony to mark the NATO Enlargement anniversaries
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we celebrate the enlargement of our NATO family of nations. 15 years ago, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined our alliance. 10 years have passed since the accession of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. And five years since the accession of Albania and Croatia.
Je tiens à adresser mes sincères félicitations aux douze pays. Ils ont montré un attachement fort aux valeurs qui définissent l’OTAN : la liberté, la démocratie, les droits de l’homme et l’état de doit. Et l’Alliance s’est trouvée renforcée par leur engagement, leurs capacités, et leurs contributions à nos discussions, à nos opérations et à nos exercices.
NATO’s open door policy has been one of the great success stories of our time. Alongside the enlargement of the European Union, it has helped to advance democracy, stability and prosperity. To erase many of the painful dividing lines on our continent. And to bring us much closer to our longstanding goal of a Europe whole, free and at peace.
NATO's door remains open to all European democracies which share our values, which can assume the responsibilities of membership and which can contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area.
Now, the crisis in Ukraine risks creating new dividing lines. And it calls into question the very principles upon which modern Europe is built – territorial integrity, international law, and the right of sovereign states to choose their own fate.
By standing up for these principles, we have helped to spread freedom, peace and stability across Europe. We have healed the divisions of the past. And overcome conflicts which lasted generations.
That is why we continue to stand by Ukraine. We continue to stand up for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our partners. And we continue to safeguard the freedom and security of our Allies. So that our vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace prevails.