Opening remarks

by the Minister of Defence of Slovenia, Karl Erjavec at the Military Committee Conference in Slovenia

  • 14 Sep. 2019 -
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  • Last updated: 14 Sep. 2019 12:23

Mr Karl Erjavec, Slovenian Minister of Defence

Thank you very much Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach,
Major General Alenka Ermenc, Chief of Defence,
Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very pleased to welcome you at the NATO Chiefs of Defence meeting in Ljubljana.

We hosted high level meetings in the past, like NATO Defence Ministerial in 2006, but I think having Chiefs of Defence in Ljubljana is very important at these challenging times.

The year 2019 is very important for Slovenia and NATO as we celebrate 70 years of the North Atlantic Treaty and 15 years of our NATO membership.

The events since 2014 brought big change in the security environment. We need to prepare for the world around us and also for the challenges of tomorrow. Cyber threats, hybrid challenges are endangering every Ally, no matter where it is. We have to invest more and in the right capabilities.

Military Committee advice is key for NATO’s successful adaptation to new security environment.

Ladies and gentleman,

NATO is the strongest political and military Alliance in the world. Our commitment to collective defence, cooperation and shared values are our strongest tools.

We recognize the importance of defence expenditures and investments in necessary capabilities. Only in that way we will be able to sustain our collective military and technological leadership. Investments in new capabilities are high among my priorities. Slovenia values NATO cooperative efforts in that perspective which are a good example of our unity and resolve.

Important aspect of our joint efforts are also NATO missions and operations. Over 6% of our armed forces currently serve abroad, mainly as part of NATO efforts, in Western Balkans, Latvia and Afghanistan.

I would particularly like to emphasize our commitment to the Western Balkans which remains high on the strategic focus of the Republic of Slovenia. Euro-Atlantic integration remains a driver of change and we continue to support NATO’s open door policy.

We have a lot on our tables as we prepare for December NATO Summit. It's important that military and civilian leaders work hand-in hand in that process. We should use this opportunity to send a message of unity and determination.

I am confident that the upcoming debates during your stay in Slovenia will set the stage for a challenging work ahead.

Allow me to use this opportunity to thank Chief of General Staff of Slovenian Armed Forces Major General Alenka Ermenc and her staff for a dedicated work in preparing for this important meeting.

I wish you to have power and courage in the next few days of your stay in Slovenia, to take difficult but necessary decisions for the secure and prosperous future of our Alliance!

(In French in original) Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish you a very agreeable stay in Slovenia and an excellent start to your conference.

Welcome to Slovenia.

Thank you.