Joint press statements

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Minister-President of Bavaria, Markus Söder

  • 16 Feb. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 16 Feb. 2024 12:01

(As delivered)

Thank you so much.

Minister-President Söder, dear Markus, thank you for hosting this CSU transatlantic forum.

And President von der Leyen, dear Ursula,
It is always great to be together with you.

And Ursula, you have played a key role in raising NATO-EU cooperation to unprecedented levels.

This has been demonstrated through our response to Russia’s war against Ukraine.

On the day of the invasion, you and I stood side-by-side and delivered a clear message of support for the Ukrainian people.

Two years on, Ukraine continues to fight for its freedom and its independence.

This is due first and foremost to the courage of the Ukrainian people.
Enabled by major military and economic support from Europe and North America.

I welcome that the European Council has approved an important new package of aid to Ukraine.
And I expect the US to follow suit.
This is vital.

Putin must realise he will not get what he wants on the battlefield.
So if we want a lasting peace, we must continue to provide Ukraine with weapons and ammunition.

This requires expanding our transatlantic industrial base, to increase deliveries to Ukraine and refill our own stocks.

And shifting from slow peacetime to high-tempo of conflict, to produce more at the highest speed.

This will help Ukraine.
It will make NATO stronger.
And it will provide more highly-skilled manufacturing jobs.

Including here in Bavaria, where Patriot missiles will be built at a new facility.
This is another example of European and North American companies working together for our shared security.

There is no imminent military threat against any NATO Ally.

NATO continues to ensure there is no room for miscalculation in Moscow about our readiness to protect all Allies.

With more forces, higher readiness, and increased defence spending.

Last year, we saw an unprecedented real increase of 11% in defence spending across European Allies and Canada.

This year, I expect 18 Allies to spend 2% of GDP on defence.
And I welcome that Germany is among that number.

Germany’s commitment to permanently station a brigade in Lithuania will also be a major contribution to NATO’s deterrence and defence.
A strong NATO is good for Europe and for North America.

Together, we are half of the world’s economic and military might.
Together, we deter conflict and preserve peace.

So President von der Leyen,
Minister-President Söder,

Thank you for your leadership.
And I look forward to our discussion.