by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of the 2022 NATO Summit
Let me first of all thank the Government of Spain and Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez for hosting this Summit in Madrid.
This will be a historic and transformative Summit for our Alliance.
We meet in the midst of the most serious security crisis we have faced since the Second World War.
And we see that Allies are able to demonstrate unity.
That we see an Alliance which is responding in a strong and unified way to all the threats and the challenges we face.
It will be a transformative Summit, because we will make historic decisions.
We will agree a new Strategic Concept for our Alliance, which is a blueprint for how to take NATO into the future in a more competitive and dangerous world, to protect all Allies and close to one billion citizens.
We will agree a fundamental shift to our deterrence and defence.
With more forward deployed combat formations.
With more high-readiness forces.
And also with more pre-positioned equipment.
This is the biggest overhaul our collective defence since the end of the Cold War that will be agreed at this Summit.
And thirdly, we will, of course, express our support to Ukraine.
I am glad that President Zelenskyy will address all the leaders as we start the Summit today.
And we will also agree a Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine.
NATO and NATO Allies have supported Ukraine for many many years.
But, of course, after the invasion we have all stepped up.
And then the leaders will also make an historic decision to invite Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO.
And this is based on the agreement reached between Finland, Sweden and Türkiye yesterday.
And this is a good agreement for Finland, Sweden, for Türkiye, and for all of us.
And finally, we will recommit and take stock of the enormous progress that has been made when it comes to burden sharing, increased defence investments across the whole Alliance over the last years.
We will also make many other decisions.
Address climate change, cyber.
We will establish a new innovation fund.
But all in all, this will really be an historic and transformative Summit demonstrating the Alliance's unity and the ability of NATO to adapt when the world is changing.
Keir Simmons (NBC News): Secretary General, Keir Simmons from NBC News. The last Strategic Concept said that NATO poses no threat to Russia. Will those same words be in this new Strategic Concept, and how much of it will be about the threat from Russia?
Secretary General: So this Concept will of course reflect that the world is totally different now compared to 2010, when we agreed the current Strategic Concept. The current Strategic Concept was agreed in 2010, in Lisbon. I was there as the Norwegian Prime Minister and then actually President Medvedev, who was then the President of Russia, participated in the meeting. And we agreed that Russia is a strategic partner for NATO and we had meetings with Russia at the NATO Summit. And of course, this will not be the case now. I expect that, when leaders agree the Strategic Concept today, they will state clearly that Russia poses a direct threat to our security and, of course, that will be reflected throughout the Strategic Concept. And also, the other decisions we take, for instance, to invest more and also to upgrade and strengthen our collective defence and our deterrence and defence posture.
The Strategic Concept will also reflect a new reality in other ways. China is not mentioned with a single word in the current Strategic Concept. China will be part of the Concept we agree at this Summit, and I expect that Allies will agree that China poses or is a challenge to our values, to our interests and to our security. China is not an adversary but, of course, we need to take into account the consequences to our security when we see China investing heavily in new modern military capabilities, long range missiles, nuclear weapons, and also trying to control critical infrastructure, for instance, 5G networks in our own countries. And then there is climate change and many other issues that were hardly mentioned in the current Strategic Concept. So, the Strategic concept will reflect that NATO is changing, the world is changing. That's why NATO is the most successful Alliance in history, is that we actually are able to adapt when we need to adapt.
Hadley Gamble (CNBC): Secretary General, Hadley Gamble with CNBC. Congratulations on this historic agreement. I know this was down to the wire for you yesterday. I want to ask you specifically about those 300,000 troops in high readiness, where are those troops going to come from? Can you elaborate for us on the cost structure there, who's going to be bearing the brunt of those costs and how quickly in terms of timeline we're going to see them getting to the front, basically. And then also, when you think about what happens next with regards to Sweden and Finland, obviously you're inviting them to be part of the Alliance, but how quickly will we see boots on the ground?
Secretary General: When it comes to the increased readiness forces, I expect them to be ready by next year. We'll take the decision now and then we'll start implementation and then they will be available and ready next year. That's the plan. We need to understand that these forces, of course, will be paid and organized by the different NATO Allied countries, so they will be based in their home countries but they will be pre-assigned to specific territories, to specific countries and territories, to be responsible for the protection of these territories. So meaning, for instance, that what you're seeing now in Germany, they have designated a specific brigade to the protection of Lithuania, and that brigade… and that will then be the case for other brigades and other combat formations, they will then be pre-assigned to specific territories, also many of them in the Eastern part of the Alliance. They will train there, they will learn how to operate together with the home defence forces and then we will pre-position equipment: heavy equipment, fuel stocks and many other things they need to operate in that specific territory. So, the combination of both increasing the number of forward forces, also combat formations boosting up the battle groups we already have, but also pre-position a lot of equipment and then have pre-assigned forces that can quickly be deployed to specific areas where they have trained and know the terrain and know the challenge that they will meet. That combination of those two factors, pre-positioned equipment, more forward deployed forces and higher readiness forces based in the homeland but ready to deploy that are, at least for the land element, the most important element on how we are going to strengthen deterrence and defence in the new security environment.
Journalist: Secretary General, we saw the articles of the Memorandum agreed by Türkiye, Sweden and Finland yesterday. What I would like to ask is, did parties determine a calendar for next steps and, if so, what will be the first steps to be taken?
Secretary General: Well, Finland and Sweden have already taken steps to tighten their legislation on terrorism. So this is something which has already started to be implemented. And I think this agreement is extremely important because it reflects the commitment we have to stand together as Allies, to address all our security concerns of course, also including the fight against terrorism. It also states clearly that Finland and Sweden will work even more closely with Türkiye on issues related to exchange of information, extradition, and in general the fight against terrorism. We also have a session tomorrow at the Summit, where we will address the challenges from the South and terrorism and I expect that to be a very important decision where Allies will express their commitment to also address the security concerns that Türkiye is facing related to terrorism.
One last thing, I forgot to answer a question about how long this will take. Well, we will make a decision today, or at least at the Summit, to invite Finland and Sweden to become members. That's unprecedented quick. I think we can hardly find any other accession process with so few weeks between the application that happened mid-May, and the invitation that will happen now. Then of course, after the invitation, we need the ratification process in 30 parliaments. That always takes some time, but I expect also that to go rather quickly because Allies are ready to try to make that ratification process happen as quickly as possible. But of course, I cannot promise anything on behalf of 30 parliaments, they have to make those decisions themselves.