by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the “Mihnea Constantinescu” Values-based Leadership Award
Thank you so much to the Aspen Institute of Romania for giving me this prestigious award.
I am truly honoured.
Democracy, freedom, and the rule of law.
NATO was created to defend these values.
It is what we have been doing for over seven decades.
And it is what this Institute has been strongly supporting for the last 15 years.
These values have transformed Romania.
And the wider region of Central and Eastern Europe.
They gave people the power to choose.
Created opportunities and possibilities.
And brought equality and stability.
But today, our values are under pressure.
Authoritarian regimes are pushing back on the international rules-based order.
And promoting alternative models of governance.
They use propaganda and disinformation to try to undermine us.
Malicious cyber tools to try to disrupt us.
And they are even weaponising migration to try to destabilise us.
Worldwide, democracy is in decline.
And there is less trust in our institutions.
So more than ever, we need to demonstrate the strength of our democratic model.
This means we all need to stand-up for our values.
They are the foundation of everything we do.
They define who we are.
And they must continue to guide us in a more complex world.
As my good friend – and yours – Mircea Geoană would say:
democracy is a daily ‘work in progress’.
So let’s continue to work together, every day.
To ensure we can live in freedom and prosperity.
I am sure that is what Ambassador Constantinescu would have wanted.
And it is what NATO will continue to do.
Now and in the future.
So thank you again for this prestigious award.
And congratulations on the Institute’s anniversary!