by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Defence Ministers session
So welcome to this meeting of the Defence Ministers in the North Atlantic Council.
All around us, we see significant challenges. The crisis in Ukraine. Failed and failing states in North Africa and in the Middle East. The spread of terrorism. And the situation now complicated further by Russia’s military actions in Syria. As well as the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War.
Long-term challenges demand long-term adaptation. And that is what we are doing. We are implementing the Readiness Action Plan that we agreed at our summit in Wales. And we have already achieved a great deal.
The continuous defence of our eastern Allies: on land, at sea and in the air. An operational ‘Spearhead Force’ that can deploy within days. A Response Force of up to 40,000 troops. And six new small headquarters in our eastern Allies that will ensure that should our forces need to move, they can move quickly and effectively.
Today we will take stock of our progress. And we will take further decisions to shape our future. Decisions on further headquarters in Hungary and Slovakia. On the completion of the enhanced NATO Response Force. And how the NATO Response Force can respond to challenges from the south.
Our meeting today comes just ten months before our next Summit, in Warsaw. We will show, once more, that we are united in defending our values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. That we are committed to supporting our partners. And that we are ready to defend every Ally against every threat.
Let me now conclude this public part of our meeting.
And thank you to the members of the media who have joined us for the start of this session. Thank you so much.