by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to troops serving in the multinational brigade in Craiova (Romania)
Mr. President, Minister, officers, soldiers. It is really a great honour for me to be here with you today because this is an opportunity for me to thank you for what you do and for your very committed service to the alliance. Together you are helping to keep our nations safe, to deter threats and defend the alliance's eastern borders. I really value what you do and I thank you for your outstanding service, and I also would like to thank your families for their constant support.
You are sending a very clear message: NATO is here, NATO is strong, and NATO is united. And you have to remember that you are part of a much wider effort. Since 2014 NATO has implemented the largest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War, tripling the size of the NATO response force to 40,000 troops, creating a 5,000-strong High Readiness Force ready to deploy within days, and establishing a chain of small headquarters across the east of the alliance, including in Bucharest.
This year, NATO has also deployed four multinational battlegroups to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. I have visited all those battlegroups and seen their skilled troops in action. So I am especially pleased to be able to visit our forward presence here in Craiova. I'm grateful to Romania for its contribution to our collective defence and for the support it is providing to our other allies as a host nation. You help to train forces from many different nations, increase our ability to work together and to respond quickly if needed.
This is a Romanian-led unit. I have seen for myself the skill with which Romanian troops conduct themselves on NATO operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo. But many other nations are involved here too. Ten allies have committed to provide officers to the brigade staff, Poland has deployed a company, and Portugal, Bulgaria, Italy and Germany will also be contributing troops.
NATO is a transatlantic alliance united in our goal to preserve peace and security. That is why you are here and why I want to thank you for everything you do. NATO has the best and most committed servicemen and women in the world. I salute your bravery, your professionalism, and your dedication. Thank you.