by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană at the Atlantic - Black Sea Security Forum organised by the Aspen Institute Romania

  • 31 May. 2021 -
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  • Last updated: 02 Jun. 2021 17:28

(As delivered)

ALINA INAYEH [Director, German  Marshall Fund of the United States, Bucharest Office]: . . . resilience look from where you are now in Brussels at the NATO Headquarters, and what is to be done to increase it, you know, further?

MIRCEA GEOANĂ [NATO Deputy Secretary General]: Thank you Alina, Maroš, it was so good to be together with you and Bogdan Aurescu, thank you for your constant leadership on these very important topics. By the way, tomorrow we’ll have the Foreign Ministers Meeting of NATO, also the Defence Ministerial of NATO, paving the way to the NATO Summit on June 14th. And Florin Pogonaru and our Aspen team also Alina from the GMF Bucharest Office, thank you so much for being such staunch and perseverant actors in all this. And I'm here in my first official visit to my home country, which is pretty weird, it’s pretty  interesting. And I am here, basically for three reasons. Number one, to be part of the third part of the most important NATO exercise of the year Steadfast Defender 21. More than 28,000 Allied troops from all Allied nations, from the United States to Portugal and Spain and all the way to the Black Sea, for three weeks or more will be doing the most important deterrence and defence exercise. Secondly, because I received this wonderful invitation from Minister Aurescu for the launch of the Euro-Atlantic Resilience Centre that Romania is proposing, I understand that this is something that will be offered both to NATO, and we are looking forward with anticipation to this partnership, but also to the European Union. And I am very happy that Vice President Šefčovič is here, because he is doing a lot of work. The [inaudible] is very important for NATO and EU to basically work together. And I am convinced that this new centre in Bucharest will be doing this for NATO, for the EU and also for other likeminded organisations and partners. Now, coming back to resilience. You know, this is now the buzzword everywhere you go, there is something on resilience. That’s a very fashionable term these days. But the beauty of NATO is that we have been working and thinking ahead on resilience since 2016, at the Warsaw NATO Summit, the leaders, in a sort of a foresight, Maroš, in a sort of anticipating some trends, in a way, they instructed us, NATO, to start looking into resilience - what does it mean? And of course, like a very serious, organised, structured organisation, we started to look into a few of the components of resilience as we understood it in 2016. We identified, as Alina mentioned, seven baseline requirements on resilience, from everything from continuity of government and governmental services in times of crisis, all the way to civil-military cooperation, transportation, energy, telecommunications and everything in between. But then this pandemic, that is still unfortunately with us, came and struck all of us - all over the world, but also across Europe and across the transatlantic community. And we started to look with even more intensity to how can we make sure that these indicators of resilience can be developed, can be broadened, and can also be more helpful to the nations part of the Alliance. So I spoke a little bit about the Summit on June 14th. We’ll be coming with renewed political energy. Secretary General in his NATO 2030 proposal for the future of the Alliance has put a big emphasis on resilience. We anticipate that our leaders - President Iohannis in the case of representing Romania at the Summit - to give us the green light to go to the next iteration of resilience indicators. We are now working as we speak on a resilience pledge. Very similar to the cyber pledge that we adopted a few years ago, also in Warsaw, when cyber was part of the discussion. And also, of course, we recognise the sovereign right of nations to look into its own resilience. But I think NATO and I think the EU are a unique platform to make sure that we are approaching resilience in a very integrated and a very lessons-learnt kind of mode. I work with Vice President Šefčovič also institutionally now, because we are friends for many years, we've been knowing each other for many, many, many decades already, Maroš. But luckily enough, we are both on the two sides of Brussels, myself in NATO, when Jens Stoltenberg asked me to pay special attention to the NATO-EU relationship, which I do, and Maroš Šefčovič in his institutional capacity. And now we are working, hopefully even after the summer, before the summer break, into some form of structured dialogue between NATO and EU on resilience. And again, we anticipate that the input from the Resilience Centre that will be kicked off today in Bucharest will also be part of this conversation. So, to cut a long story short, NATO is always adapting. NATO is always about anticipating threats. And the name of the game is that while we do deterrence and defence - which is something that is the bread and butter of this Alliance, that’s why Steadfast Defender, that’s why so many things we do - we also have to look into the broader definition of security. Resilience, new technologies, climate change and security, space - these are a new definition of security. And again, we count on Romania, a valued Ally in NATO, and I think a very, very active EU member state. And to close, something about technology. I applaud the fact that Romania was able to convince and to obtain the European Union Cyber Competence Centre in Bucharest, that’s a huge achievement. And I speak now, putting aside my NATO hat and taking about my national hat a little bit. And I do believe that when the two centres will be up and running, the Resilience Centre and the Cyber Centre, this will be also the beginning of an ecosystem of innovation. And if you want sophistication in this new definition of security, then I'm happy to see that newer Allies into NATO and newer member states into the EU are also coming to a level of maturity and influence in both organisations. So I am here to applaud this initiative from Romania and to say that we are interested in supporting it and also making sure that it serves both NATO and the EU and other interested parties.

ALINA INAYEH: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Deputy Secretary General.