by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the new NATO headquarters handover ceremony

  • 25 May. 2017 -
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  • Last updated: 25 May. 2017 17:47

(As delivered)

Merci, Monsieur le Premier Ministre.

Et Merci la Belgique.

Your Majesty, 

Heads of State and Government, 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

NATO is the most successful Alliance in history because of the remarkable service and sacrifice of the men and women of our armed forces. And because we stand united.  And because we change when the world changes.

The handover of our new headquarters marks the beginning of a new chapter and I want to thank our host nation, Belgium. The thousands of people from across the Alliance who have contributed to this project, and those who are working to ensure a smooth transition, already underway, from our old home across the road. 

This headquarters will be an emblem of a strong, adaptable Alliance. It will provide state-of-the-art facilities. It is a greener building, helping us to work in new ways. This is a 21st century headquarters for a 21st century Alliance. 

NATO was founded almost 70 years ago, to keep our nations safe during the Cold war. But we have constantly adapted as security challenges have evolved. 

When the Berlin Wall came down, the world changed, and this Alliance changed too. Former adversaries became partners, and then Allies. And for the first time, we went beyond our borders, to help end ethnic wars in the Western Balkans.

Then terrorists struck on 9/11 and the world changed again. And so did we. We launched our biggest combat operation ever, to fight terrorism in Afghanistan.

In 2014, we saw the rise of a new barbaric breed of terrorism and the international rules-based order was violated. When borders were changed  by military force in Ukraine. Once again, NATO responded. With the largest reinforcement of our collective defence in Europe in a generation. Not because we seek to provoke conflict, but because we want to prevent conflict, and to preserve the peace. That’s why we also remain committed to dialogue. Meanwhile, we have stepped up our role in the fight against terrorism. We have been on the frontline of that fight for many years. And we continue to help our partners in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere to build up their forces, and stabilise their countries.

As NATO has adapted to an uncertain world, there has always been one constant: our unity.

Throughout our history, we have stood together.

And the barbaric attack in Manchester shows how important it is that we continue to stand together in defence of our open societies. So today, we will decide what more we should do to keep our Allies safe in a more dangerous world. 28 Allies, soon to be 29, as we prepare for Montenegro’s accession as NATO’s newest member.

And it is therefore a great honour for me to welcome you today Prime Minister Marković of Montenegro to our Euro-Atlantic family. Dobrodosli Carna Gora.Welcome.

NATO is more than a treaty. More than an organisation. NATO embodies the unique bond between Europe and North America. And, as we raise our flags today…

At this defining moment for our security… Our Alliance stands strong, united and resolute.​