Press statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron

  • 21 May. 2021 -
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  • Mis à jour le: 21 May. 2021 15:27

(As delivered)

Thank you, Mister President.
Cher Emmanuel,

It is always a great pleasure to be in Paris and to meet with you.
Thank you also for your personal leadership and commitment to Europe and North America working together.

France is at the heart of our transatlantic Alliance. With highly skilled troops. Cutting-edge capabilities across the whole spectrum of deterrence and defence. And significant defence investment, spending 2% of GDP on defence.

France is also part of NATO’s multinational battlegroup in Estonia.  And your jets keep the skies safe as part of our Baltic Air Policing Mission.

France is committed in the fight against terrorism, with thousands of troops in the Sahel. And I pay tribute to the French forces who are on the front line fighting extremism. France is also a strong supporter of the NATO-EU partnership. Which we have been able to lift to unprecedented levels in recent years.

Today, we had an in-depth discussion on the upcoming NATO Summit next month.

This is a unique opportunity to strengthen the Alliance between Europe and North America. And we must seize this opportunity to take substantive and forward-looking decisions.
Through the NATO 2030 initiative, which will be at the heart of the Summit.
We will reinforce our unity and solidarity.
This means consulting more in NATO on all issues that affect our security.
Reaffirming our fundamental values.
And strengthening our commitment to collective defence, including with increased investment.
We will broaden our approach to security.
By helping to make our societies, infrastructure and supply chains more resilient. Keeping our technological edge.
And tackling the security implications of climate change.
And we will uphold the international rules-based order against the authoritarian push-back from countries like Russia and China.

This means deepening our cooperation with like-minded countries and organisations, like the European Union.
Building new partnerships around the world. And stepping up our training and capacity-building efforts with partners.

This is an ambitious agenda. Because in an age of global competition, we must be ambitious to defend our people, our values, and our interests.
And I count on France to play an active and constructive role to adapt NATO for the future.

We also discussed the situation in Ukraine.
Russia still has troops in and around Ukraine and more troops now than before the recent escalation. So we need a peaceful resolution. And I commend France’s active role in the Normandy format.

NATO remains vigilant, because this is part of a disturbing pattern of Russian aggressive actions. 
At the same time, we remain committed to our dual-track approach of defence and dialogue with Russia.

We also addressed our fight against terrorism. NATO is stepping up training in Iraq. We are looking at ways to provide more support in the Sahel region. And in Afghanistan, as we end our military presence, we are opening a new chapter.

NATO’s future support will have three main pillars.

First, we plan to provide advice and capacity-building support to Afghan security institutions. As well as continued financial support to the Afghan security forces.
Second, we are planning to provide military education and training outside Afghanistan,
focusing on Special Operations Forces.

And third, we are planning to fund the provision of services. Including support for the functioning of Kabul airport. All this will enable NATO Allies and the broader international community to continue to help the Afghan people and contribute to the peace efforts.   

So Mr. President, thank you once again for this substantial discussion. Thank you for being such a strong supporter of the transatlantic bond.
And I look forward to see you in Brussels next month.

Thank you.