Opening remarks

by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Annalena Baerbock at the informal meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Foreign Ministers session

  • 15 May. 2022 -
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  • Last updated: 15 May. 2022 10:00

(As delivered)

Good Morning. Welcome back. And welcome to the second day of our informal Ministerial.

Let me thank again, Minister Baerbock. Thank you so much for hosting us in Berlin. For this first of a kind informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers. Ministers met last night with Ministers Haavisto and Linde of Finland and Sweden. Today we will address the ongoing war in Ukraine and our response to President Putin's unjustified attack on a sovereign nation, including our support to Ukraine, and our efforts to prevent an escalation of the conflict.

Later today, we will look forward to the Summit in Madrid. Allied leaders will take important decisions when they meet next month, including adopting the next Strategic Concept, a blueprint for the Alliance for the decade to come. And now it is up to Minister Baerbock to deliver her remarks. Please.

Thank you, Deputy Secretary General. 

Dear colleagues, I'm delighted to welcome you all again, and especially Tony Blinken, this morning, to Berlin. 
I hope you had a good evening yesterday night. As a result of the NATO reform process last year, we [have] all decided to strengthen our Alliance as a forum for political consultations.

Today we are taking an important step in this direction. With this new type of meeting we add an interactive and informal element to NATO's annual calendar. 
Germany has always supported strengthening NATO politically. 
And I would like to thank again Secretary General, Jens, who unfortunately cannot join us today, for his determination to make this happen. 
And thank you all, dear colleagues and friends, for taking this leap of faith with us to try to do something new and add, so far, an unusual element for NATO. And doing something out of the box is maybe not very known for NATO. 
But in these times, in this horrible times, we all have to reach out, out of our box and comfort zones. And therefore, I thank you a lot. 
And I think yesterday evening already marked that this is very good also for the trust in our Alliance. 
This will, I hope, and if you allow, I would call it “Berlin format” will help to allow us for a lively discussion, as we did yesterday evening, also today. And in the future allow us to strengthen NATO as a political forum. 
In face of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, NATO’s creed one for all, and all for one, is even more important than ever. 
Our security, our freedom, our values are under threat. 
But together we will defend them. Our unity remains our greatest strength. 
In light of this dramatic situation, two of our closest partners are considering joining us. 

Yesterday evening, we welcomed our Finnish and Swedish colleagues who briefed us on the latest steps in their decision making process. 
In the current security environment, it is necessary to strengthen NATO politically, but also militarily. 
We all already underlined when we met last time in Brussels that we will step up our military support to protect our Alliance, and to be strengthened with regard to the breach of law by Russia and Russia’s aggressive behavior. 
I look forward to an open exchange with all of you throughout the course of the day. 
We have much to discuss as the Deputy Secretary General underlined. Support for Ukraine, the consequences of Russia's war for NATO's defense posture, but also NATO's new Strategic Concept providing NATO with political framework for the years to come. 
This informal meeting builds a bridge to the Summit in June, where we will meet next. And dear Minister of Spain, dear José, I'm very much looking forward to expanding on today's meeting and discussions in sunny Madrid next month. 
Thank you all for coming. And now, I hand back to Mircea. Thanks a lot, colleagues.