Short remarks

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US President Joe Biden at their meeting in the margins of the NATO Summit

  • 14 Jun. 2021 -
  • |
  • Last updated 15-Jun-2021 11:56

(As delivered)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Mr. President, it’s great to see you again, and just a week after we met in the White House, and thank  you so much for your strong personal commitment and powerful leadership on the transatlantic bond, on what we do together, North America and Europe. We meet at a pivotal time for our Alliance. We will open a new chapter in our transatlantic relationship with the meeting today. We will address a wide range of issues, including Russia, and I think that Allied Leaders look forward to consulting with you ahead of the meeting with President Putin. We will address China, and we have seen a convergence of views among Allies. We all recognize that China’s heavy investments in military capabilities, continued coercive behaviour and growing influence matters for our security, and we need to respond to that together as an Alliance. We will agree the NATO 2030 Agenda, an ambitious agenda for the future of NATO, and to do all this we need to invest more, and that's exactly what we're doing with seven consecutive years of increased defence spending, 260 billion extra US dollars across Europe and Canada. So, a strong NATO is good for Europe, but is also good for America –

President of the United States of America Joseph R. Biden Jr.
It’s very good for America, essential for America –

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
And I know that no other major power has as many friends and allies as the United States has in NATO, so I know that we can count on America, and that America can count on Europe, so welcome, Mr. President.

President of the United States of America, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Well thank you, and thank you for your incredible leadership over the years. I really mean this; you’ve been incredible. I, quite frankly, we have competent people coming, but I wish you were not leaving, because, no, I really mean it, you have been absolutely incredible, you've been strong, you've been able to pull people together. And I think that there is a growing recognition, over the last couple of years, that we have new challenges. And we have Russia that is not acting in a way that is consistent with what we had hoped. And, as well as China. And I must say that we had, as a preliminary to this, a number of my colleagues, our colleagues, who were in the G7, have stepped up as well, in terms of the need for there to be greater coordination than we even have now. Well I want to make it clear: NATO is critically important for the US interest in and of itself, if there weren't one we'd have to invent one. It is, it allows America to conduct its business around the world in a way that never would have occurred, were it not for NATO, number one. Number two, I believe, and I've said this my whole career and the four years I was out when I decided to run for president again, that NATO is… Article Five, we take as a sacred obligation. And I constantly remind Americans, that when America was attacked, for the first time in its shores since what happened back in the beginning of World War II. NATO stepped up. NATO stepped up, they honoured Article Five. And I just want all of Europe to know that the United States is there. The United States is there and we, we are pleased to be back, and in Wales the decision was made to increase spending, you’re right, it's moving up, I guess that there are more than 10 countries that have met the goal and others are on the way. And so it's, it's important, but, but it’s… I just want to thank you for your leadership. A lot of this wouldn't happen without you.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
Thank you so much.

President of the United States of America, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
I mean it though.

President of the United States of America, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Thank you.