by NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană at the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po University

  • 24 Apr. 2023 -
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  • Last updated: 26 Apr. 2023 11:39

(As delivered)

Merci Arancha, ce fut l’idée de Muriel de venir ensemble ici.

This is my amphitheater because I was a few years back, student of École nationale d'administration. The headquarters belonged to us and this is my amphitheatre, so I'm happy to go back in time and I remember the French students been going on strike because they wanted to move the school to Strasburg, et les Français ils s’y connaissent dans ces trucs militants, so for me it’s very emotional.

Last time when we were here one year ago, we were in a big amphitheater not here, but this is really full of emotion for me, I was your age. I encourage you to stay the course, attend this great school that you're attending and the sky's the limit for you, my dear friends, the sky's the limit for all of you. So I'm so happy to be here. It's really emotional. I remember one year ago sitting on stage with Pascal Lamy, a dear friend and a superb intellectual, also Viktoria Molnar. She's here with you, a Ukrainian student from Sciences Po. She was making the case for this great brave nation of Ukraine.

So what happened in one and a few months, year, time?

First, I think all can recognize that Ukraine has been shown immense bravery, immense courage, immense resilience, immense ingenuity, in all sense of national destiny.
And there is something that Mr. Putin has got it wrong, but totally wrong.
It was his initial belief that Ukraine doesn't exist as a nation, before Crimea, before the occupation of Crimea, illegal occupation 2014, 80-something percent of Ukrainians believe that Russia is the closest friend to Ukraine, for many reasons.
Now, now 90 percent of Ukrainians believe that Russia is an existential threat to Ukraine.
So this is really a big consequence, because this is national mythology.
Generation after generation Ukrainians, they will speak of their great war. They will speak of their fathers and grandparents that died.
That sacrificed themselves under such brutal vicious attacks by Russia.

So the first conclusion after one year that we have now, a Ukrainian nation, forged in battle, fierce, resilient, and uncompromising about its freedom and sovereignty.
There's nothing short of formidable and I think we should applaud this nation because this has been a very difficult year for them.

The second lesson for us, and this is where je crois que si Muriel va être d’accord avec moi,  it is the incredible unity of the political West when it comes to helping Ukraine. And it's probably the second miscalculation of Mr. Putin believing that the West is weak, is decadent, is fractured, that the European and North American Allies will go in different ways, I've seen this Alliance, I think is more united than they've been in many, many years and this is something that I believe is also very important consequence.

The third lesson that I think we can draw is that we have in face of us the new definition of security, which goes beyond deterrence and defence, which encompasses cyber, disinformation campaigns, hybrid warfare, space, resilience, supply chains, public narratives. So what we are now witnessing is, in fact, after one and something months of a war that, in fact is not just the war in Ukraine. It's a massive transversal war that Russia is waging against Ukraine and also against the friends of Ukraine.

And resilience is a big word that I would like to leave with you, because that's about societal resilience. It is not only resilience in military terms, or after the pandemic, to bounce back. But it's about how we as citizens, as civil society, as NGOs, as universities, as businesses, as governments, local and national, or international organizations like NATO, the European Union, are looking like.

The fourth conclusion for me: This war has brought NATO and European Union closer together.
I have the privilege as being also a former Foreign Minister of Romania, my nation is also a NATO proud member and a very proud EU member state.
And I think that we are now, and if you could read the third Joint Declaration between NATO and EU, you'll be seeing that we're working together on cyber, on resilience, on new technologies, on space, on China, and on many other things.

Fifth, and something which is more complex, is that the rest of the world is not looking at this war through the same lenses, with the same eyes like we do in Europe, and across, if you want, the traditional political West, in Europe and also elsewhere.
And you see for reasons that can be discussed, big important nations from the rest of the world are not looking at this war with the same lenses like we do.
And I believe personally, that it is not the fact that they don't understand that this is a blatant aggression, and this is against the UN Charter. But because they still see this war as sort of an intra-European, a sort of a Western kind of thing, which is our problem, not their problem.
And they're trying in a way to find the way under the sun that will put them in a better position in the future because there is a new world order in the making.
Probably there are students from all over the world, not only from European nations, from all parts of the world. Even if this war is European, the consequences of this war are global. And not only because of food security or energy security, but also because the way in which we will respond to aggression will be the way in which the future of the world will look like.

Do we live in a world with norms and rules? Or we live in a world where force and brute force and military might makes right? So this war is a European war by definition, geographically speaking, but it's a consequence.

Because the way in which we will respond to this war, and as Secretary General Stoltenberg says: what happens today in Europe could happen tomorrow in Asia, or in Africa, or elsewhere, or in space, where competition is intensifying as well.

So this will be a few of my initial comments, telling you one thing: that our Ukrainian friends need our support, they deserve our support. They earned our support. They earned our respect. And this is not at least I say this as a Romanian, that lives in a geography that has been seeing aggression many, many, many times. I'm proud of my organization of NATO how we responded to this crisis. I'm proud of Ukrainians. I'm proud of us. And I'm proud of the also the Allied nations, starting with France, which is a leading military force and also a leading nation in NATO, European and world affairs.

So I don't know if Viktoria Molnar is here to listen to us, Viktoria. If you're not here, and you're online. I say hello because I was impressed last year when you presented a case of your great nation.

So, muchisimas gracias.