Online press conference

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the first day of the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers

  • 17 Feb. 2021 -
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  • Mis à jour le: 17 Feb. 2021 19:07

(As delivered)

Press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after the first day of the Defence Ministers meetings

Good afternoon.

We have just concluded the first day of the meeting of NATO Defence Ministers.
We had a positive and stimulating discussion.

This is our first ministerial meeting with the new Biden administration.
And an important milestone in our preparations for our summit later this year. 


We have a unique opportunity to open a new chapter in relations between Europe and North America.

We face global challenges that no country and no continent can tackle alone.

That is why I launched NATO 2030 initiative.
To make our transatlantic Alliance fit for the future.

I have put forward a number of ambitious proposals to prepare for our summit.

They cover key areas.

Strengthening our commitment to deterrence and defence, by providing incentives to Allies to contribute more capabilities, and ensure fairer burden sharing.

We also need to raise our level of ambition when it comes to resilience, which is our first line of defence.

And we must do more to promote transatlantic cooperation on defence innovation.
So that NATO keeps its technological edge.

My proposals also include improving our ability to train and build capacity in NATO partner countries.
Because this is a more sustainable way to contribute to stability in our neighbourhood, and to fight terrorism.

Political coordination among Allies is another important area for NATO2030.
To use NATO more as a platform for consultation and coordination, on more issues and in more formats.
At the same time, we need to enhance our political and practical cooperation with like-minded democracies around the world.

So we can protect the rules-based order, which is undermined by countries that do not share our values, like Russia and China.

NATO must also do more to address the security implications of climate change.
This affects all of us and our Alliance must play its role, by reducing vulnerabilities and emissions from the military sector.  
Finally, this is the time to update NATO’s Strategic Concept.
So that we address existing and emerging challenges, recommit to our values, and reinforce the bond between Europe and North America.

Today we had a great start to our discussion.
To build a substantial and forward-looking agenda for the NATO summit.
To secure a more peaceful and prosperous future through a strong transatlantic Alliance.   

Adapting to the future requires sustained investment in our defence.
Today, we discussed progress toward fairer burden-sharing.

2021 will be the seventh consecutive year of increased defence spending by European Allies and Canada. 

Nine Allies are expected to spend 2 % of GDP on defence.
Compared to only 3 in 2014.

Since 2014, European Allies and Canada have contributed a cumulative extra of 190 billion dollars.

And this year, twenty-four Allies will meet the guideline of investing at least 20% of their defence budgets into major new equipment.

So we are making real progress.

But we must all keep the commitments we have made.
And continue to invest in our defence and increase the readiness of our forces.

This is the only way to keep our nations safe in a more unpredictable world.

We concluded with a session with our partners Finland and Sweden, and the European Union High Representative Borrell.

It was an opportunity to share views on the common challenges we face.
To discuss transatlantic relations at this important juncture.
And the need for Europe and North America to work closely together.

With that, I am ready for your questions.