Joint press point

by the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Egils Levits, President of Latvia

  • 25 Nov. 2019 -
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  • Last updated: 25 Nov. 2019 15:10

(As delivered)

Joint press point with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Latvia, Egils Levits

President Levits,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you here at NATO headquarters. And also to thank you for Latvia’s strong commitment to our Alliance.

We just discussed preparations for the Leaders’ meeting in London next week.  We both agree on NATO’s indispensable role in keeping Europe secure.  The foundations of NATO are strong – and we will ensure the Alliance is fit for the future. 

We are strengthening our defence and deterrence. And we are working together to continue to modernise the Alliance with a modern Command Structure and more forces at higher readiness.

We are responding to hybrid and cyber threats.

And we have agreed new requirements for protecting critical infrastructure, including 5G.

Foreign Ministers have just recognised space as an operational domain for NATO – alongside land, sea, air and cyberspace.

We have also stepped up in the fight against terrorism, with our training mission in Iraq and our training mission in Afghanistan.

The Leaders’ meeting will also address new challenges, including the rise of China and emerging technologies.

I want to thank Latvia for its strong commitment to NATO.

You lead by example on defence spending, committing more than 2% of GDP for defence. And investing in major equipment.

Your troops help train local forces as part of our Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

And you host the NATO battlegroup in Ādaži. And I had the pleasure of being there when we inaugurated that battlegroup a couple of years ago.

The battlegroup, led by Canada, includes troops from 9 Allies. They demonstrate the strength of the transatlantic bond – soldiers from North America and Europe keeping our Alliance safe. And they demonstrate the strength of multilateralism. Many countries working together with one common goal.

We agree that NATO is the only guarantor of European security. Our forces prevent conflict and preserve peace.

They send a clear message of NATO’s commitment to the Baltic region, in the face of Russia’s military build-up and pattern of destabilizing behavior. We will discuss our united approach to Russia at the meeting of NATO leaders in London next week.

So Mr. President,

Thank you once again for being here. Thank you for your strong personal commitment to this Alliance, and once again, welcome.

Question: [Inaudible]… central fund or central budget. It is clear that the US wants to reduce their payments into that fund but not all the other member states of the alliance agree to increase their payments to sort of cover that gap. Could you update us on how the debates are going?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: In NATO we adopt the budget for the next year, every year. So that is an annual process and we have now - as always - a process which we need to conclude to adopt the budget for next year. That is part of the regular discussions within NATO about the budget and the cost shares and I am absolutely certain that we will conclude this is due time.