Opening remarks

by Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Petr Pavel with Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Curtis Scaparrotti and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, General Denis Mercier

  • 16 May. 2018 -
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  • Last updated: 16 May. 2018 21:41

Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to welcome you at this brand new auditorium in our new NATO Headquarters. Let me begin my last MCCS conference press update by giving you an overview of the main outcomes of the second Chiefs of Defence meeting in 2018.

Today’s sessions have focused on the Alliance’s adaptation and modernization. The international security environment continues to be highly volatile, which means that the Alliance needs to ensure its constant readiness to respond to any threat or challenge. We have made a lot of progress, but we still have work ahead of us in adapting the Alliance for whatever the future may bring.

We started our meetings today with the Deputy Secretary General, Rose Gottemoeller and Chairman of the European Union’s Military Committee, General Mikhail Kostarakos. With the discussions centred on the priorities for this year’s Summit in July, and how the military will support the Alliance’s objectives.

Our second session was with our Enhanced Opportunity Partners: Georgia, Jordan, Australia, Sweden and Finland. We addressed issues of security and stability in Europe’s southern neighbourhood. With instability and conflict in the Middle East, North Africa and the Sahel, coupled with terrorism that continues to threaten our societies, the Chiefs of Defence exchanged the views on what more support the Alliance can provide to our Partners, such as for example training. Regarding the NATO Training and Capacity Building Mission in Iraq, the Chiefs of Defence noted the need for NATO to continue discussions with the new Iraqi government once it is formed and reiterated the importance of the Mission being complementary with other international efforts, in particular under the Global Coalition and the EU. Greater coherence of Coalition, NATO, EU, UN and national activities in Iraq, and in general across the South could deliver greater effect in a more efficient way.

Now on a more personal note: Adaptation is synonymous with change. As my tenure comes to an end next month, I want to take this opportunity to thank both SACEUR and SACT. For their continues support for their leadership of your respective commands and your invaluable advice during my three years here as Chairman that allowed me to lead the military part of this alliance’s most significant adaptation in recent years. I would name just a few initiatives, such as: NCS Adaptation, enhanced deterrence and defence, Forward presence, our activities in the South including the Hub, addressing Cyber issues, relations ship with Russia and many others.

Denis, I know you are also departing shortly. And I think that we can both agree that we are leaving the Alliance in a strong position, moving forward with its modernization and ready and able to fulfill its three core tasks. Nearly seventy years after its creation, NATO's essential mission has not changed: to ensure that the Alliance remains an unparalleled community of freedom, peace, security, and shared values, including individual liberty, human rights, democracy, and of course the rule of law. I am very honoured to have been part of this endeavour.

With that said, let me now offer the floor first to SACEUR.