Joint press conference

with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen

  • 19 May. 2022 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 19 May. 2022 16:16

(As delivered)

Prime Minister Frederiksen,
Kjære Mette,

Thank you so much for your leadership, for your strong personal commitment to our transatlantic Alliance.

And also for the fact that Denmark is contributing in many different ways to our shared security, to our collective defence.

Including with forces in our multinational battlegroup in Estonia and also now with  new troops in Latvia.

Fighter jets on patrol over the east of the Alliance in air policing missions.
And regular Danish contributions to our maritime deployments, from the High North to the Mediterranean.
All of this matters, as we face the most dangerous security situation in Europe for decades.
The Euroatlantic family has responded to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine with unprecedented unity.

NATO fully supports Ukraine’s right to self defence, enshrined in the UN Charter.
That is why Allies, including Denmark, are stepping up their support for Ukraine.
Ukraine can win this war.

Historic decisions are now being taken.
I welcome, as you, Mette, the fact that Finland and Sweden have applied to join NATO.
The security interests and concerns of all Allies need to be taken into account.
And I am confident that we will come to a quick decision to welcome both Sweden and Finland to join the NATO family.

And when they join, ninety six percent of the EU population will live in a NATO country.

Not only do we share population.
But we also share the same neighborhood, and the same challenges. 

NATO and the European Union are now working more closely together than ever before.
Supporting Ukraine, but also on military mobility, maritime issues, cyber, and we work together in the Western Balkans.

I welcome the European Union’s efforts on defence.

Done in the right way, this will strengthen NATO and the European Union.
With increased defence spending,
new defence capabilities,
and a stronger European defence industry.
This will also benefit the transatlantic Alliance.

At this critical moment for our shared security, we need even stronger multilateral institutions.
And even deeper international cooperation.

Dear Mette,
Thank you again.

I look forward to continuing the close cooperation with you and with Denmark.

[Note: most questions were in Danish or Norwegian. Only questions in English are transcribed below.]

Question 1: I have a question for the Secretary General, considering… whether you consider this holdup, current holdup, as a security jeopardy, since you've been speaking so much about the unity of NATO and that's very important in this current circumstance. Do you consider it a risk or a jeopardy to the unity or the security of the Alliance?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: NATO has responded in a very unified way to the brutal invasion of Ukraine. We provide support – military support, economic support, humanitarian support – and NATO Allies have implemented unprecedented sanctions on Russia. NATO Allies also believe that enlargement of NATO has been a great success, that every country has the right to choose its own path – that of course also includes Finland and Sweden. Then we are 30 Allies from both sides of the Atlantic with different history and geography and political parties in government and sometimes there are some differences. But we have a long track record in NATO of being able to overcome differences and agree, and I’m absolutely certain that we'll also be able to agree on this issue when we are… after sitting down and discussing this issue together as NATO Allies.

Question 2: A specific issue that Turkey has raised regarding weapons for instance, to the Kurds in the region. Have you been in dialogue with Turkey about issues with other member states, other Alliance members, providing the same weapons export or is it only limited to Sweden’s decision?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: We are in close contact with Finland and Sweden and Turkey and also with all the Allies. I don't think it will be helpful if I go into the specifics of all those conversations, but of course we're addressing the concerns that Turkey has expressed. Because when an Ally, an important Ally as Turkey, raises security concerns, raises issues, then of course, the only way to deal with that is to sit down and find ways to find a common ground and an agreement on how to move forward.

Question 3: What is your current analysis of Russia's end goal in Ukraine given its military defeats?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: So what we have seen is that Russia has not been able to reach its strategic goals in Ukraine. The plan was to take Kyiv, they were not able to do that. Then there has been… Russia has been also forced to leave Kharkiv and the surroundings of Kharkiv, and the offensive in Donbass has stalled. At the same time, we don't believe that Russia has given up on its strategic goals. So we need to be prepared for the long haul, that this war may continue for a long time. And that also means that NATO Allies have to be prepared to try and support Ukraine for a long time. I think it's very dangerous to speculate too much. Wars are always unpredictable, but we need to be prepared that this may last and therefore also be prepared for the long haul when it comes to support for Ukraine.