Joint press conference
with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Minister of Defence of Spain, María Dolores de Cospedal García
Thank you so much Minister de Cospedal, dear Maria Dolores,
I really appreciate to be here today together with my delegation and thanks for the warm welcome, it’s always a pleasure to be in Madrid.
And to also say that we really appreciate the commitment of Spain to our Alliance and the Spanish contributions to our collective defence.
Because Spain is contributing in so many different ways to our shared security and to our collective defence.
You mentioned actually many of them but let me just highlight how much we appreciate that Spanish troops are in in Latvia being part of our Enhanced Forward Presence and helping to deter any aggression against our eastern Allies.
We also welcome the fact that Spanish planes, jets are regularly policing the airspace in the Baltics, and that you are hosting a very important capability for NATO, the ……ships in your base in Rota.
You have the Patriot batteries in Turkey and you are also playing a key role in the fight against terrorism, both with your presence in Afghanistan, because the reason why NATO is in Afghanistan is to prevent that country from once again becoming a safe haven for international terrorists.
But also by the fact that you are present in Iraq, training Iraqi officers, soldiers, and helping NATO to build up our training activity in that country.
So you are contributing in many different ways, both to our collective defence, but also to our fight against terrorism and we are extremely grateful for that.
We are confronted with a more demanding security environment, we see new threats and we see old challenges becoming more demanding. We see cyber and hybrid threats, we are making NATO’s cyber defences even stronger with changes to our Command Structure. And we expect to set up a new Cyber Operations Centre.
And Spain’s national cyber command could play a key role in contributing knowledge and experience to NATO.
We have just had very good discussions addressing a wide range of issues on how Spain contribute to NATO and how NATO is adapting and responding to a new and more demanding security environment.
We also discussed as you mentioned the preparations for the NATO Summit in Brussels in July and we will work on two strands as we prepare for that meeting.
First: strengthening our collective defence and deterrence. This is about keeping the peace in Europe. And keeping us all safe.
And second: working to project stability beyond our borders. This is key in the fight against terrorism.
And NATO has played an important role in this fight for many years.
Today, we contribute to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS with AWACS surveillance flights, and training for Iraqi forces.
And in Iraq, Spain, as I mentioned, is making a real difference by providing specialized counter-IED training.
And as we prepare for the Summit, we will consider how our role could evolve within the Global Coalition to defeat ISIS.
Allies and partners are also adding three thousand more trainers to the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, helping prevent Afghanistan from ever again becoming a safe haven for international terrorism. Afghanistan has taught us that prevention is better than intervention.
So NATO is focusing on how to prevent conflicts and we are working with partners like Jordan and Tunisia to strengthen their defence and help them provide for their own security.
NATO is adapting to keep our people safe.
But in order to keep adapting, we all need to invest in defence.
In 2014, all Allies committed to stop the cuts in defence spending, gradually increase, and move towards investing 2% on defence within a decade. I welcome that Spain has recently announced plans for significant increases in defence investments.
And I encourage you to continue on this path. This is key for fairer burden-sharing between North America and Europe.
And for keeping our people safe.
So once again, thank you so much for hosting me and my delegation and I really look forward to continue working with you as we prepare for the upcoming Summit and continue to adapt NATO to a more demanding security environment.