by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Bucharest Forum (online)

  • 09 Dec. 2021 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 08 Dec. 2021 17:49

(As delivered)

Good afternoon all. 
And many thanks to the Aspen Institute Romania and the Bucharest office of the German Marshall Fund, 
for inviting me to address this distinguished audience, 
on this special occasion:
It is the 10th anniversary of the Bucharest Forum. 
And the 15th anniversary of the Aspen Institute Romania. 
So I want to congratulate you on establishing an essential platform for reflection and dialogue. 
On critical issues confronting our societies.
In Romania, the wider region and beyond. 

The growing pressure on the rules-based international order is one such critical issue. 

Today, authoritarian powers are openly undermining global rules to increase their power and influence. 
They are seeking to challenge our democracies in many domains. 
Economic, technological, political, and military.

Russia is increasingly aggressive. 
It interferes in other countries' affairs.
It has used force against its neighbours. 
And it has invested significantly in new capabilities. 
Including advanced nuclear weapons. 
Russia continues its massive military build-up, as we see now around the borders of Ukraine. 
As well as its assertive behaviour in the strategically important region of the Black Sea. 

Meanwhile, China is using its might to coerce other countries and control its own people. 
It is investing heavily in new technologies, like hypersonic gliders.
And it is expanding its global economic and military footprint from Africa, to the Arctic, in space and in cyber-space.

In addition, we face more frequent and sophisticated cyber-attacks.
Hybrid tactics, as we see from Belarus.  
A persistent terrorist threat.
The proliferation of nuclear weapons.
And the security impact of climate change.

We must deal with this new reality. 
And the best way to do that is together. 
Europe and North America. 
Together in NATO.

That is why NATO leaders took decisions at our Brussels Summit in June to reinforce transatlantic unity. 
And strengthen NATO as the indispensable forum to consult, decide and, when necessary, act on all issues that affect our security.
We agreed NATO 2030 – an ambitious agenda for our future security. 
To keep our people safe in this more unpredictable world. 

We decided to sharpen our technological edge.
So we are investing in the latest technologies.
From artificial intelligence to biotech and quantum computers.
We are developing a Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic – what we call DIANA,
to facilitate transatlantic cooperation and exchanges on critical technologies.

And we launched the new NATO Innovation Fund.
To invest in start-ups that will help meet our security needs,
and strengthen the technological bond between Europe and North America.

At the Summit, we also decided to address the impact of climate change on our security.
Allies are already investing in sustainable solutions, 
including bio-fuels for jet aircraft,
and solar panels to power equipment.
And for the first time, NATO is developing a way to map military emissions across the Alliance.
So we can cut them.

Another decision we took at the last Summit was to make our societies stronger. 
Our infrastructure more resilient. 
And our supply chains more secure. 

Our potential adversaries are using our vulnerabilities to advance their interests. 
Investing in our critical infrastructure as a way to interfere in our societies. 
And trying to exploit our dependencies on essential supplies - like gas, oil and rare earth minerals.

We are working to establish clearer and more measurable Alliance-wide resilience objectives. 
To ensure a minimum level of shared resilience among Allies. 
Because we are only as strong as our weakest link. 

All of these issues - technology, climate, resilience - and in many other areas, we are committed to work even more closely with partners. 
Near and far.  
Countries, organisations, private companies, think tanks and academic institutions. 
Closer cooperation is not just ‘nice to do’. 
It is an absolute necessity.
To ensure we can shape the strategic landscape for the better. 
Compete in a more competitive world.
And defend the rules-based international order against those that seek to undermine it.

Finally, as part of NATO 2030, we also agreed to develop NATO’s next Strategic Concept. 
This is one of NATO’s most important guiding documents. 
It gives us an opportunity to reflect on how the world has changed in the last decade - since the last concept was written.
And chart a way ahead for the Alliance.
It is also an opportunity to reaffirm the centrality of the transatlantic bond to our security and our defence. 
And stress NATO’s role as the cornerstone of Euro-Atlantic security.

At the Madrid Summit in 2022, Allied leaders will endorse this new concept. 
And we will further engage with partners, like you.
To seek your ideas and contributions. 
Throughout the process, I count on Romania, as a staunch and committed ally, to continue to contribute to this process. 
Your voice matters. 

As we look to Madrid, 
we will continue to work hard, together. 
To keep NATO strong. 
The rules-based order stable.
And our people safe. 

Thank you and I wish you a very good conference.