NATO Secretary General highlights Smart Defence as answer to austerity on visit to Italy

  • 27 Apr. 2012 -
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  • Last updated: 27 Apr. 2012 16:40

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen stressed the importance of Smart Defence as the answer to pressure on defence budgets in talks with Italian leaders in Rome on 27 April 2012.

Bilateral meeting between NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, at Piazza del Quirinale in Rome, Italy, on Friday 27th April 2012.

The Secretary General raised the issue as part of discussions on the preparations for NATO’s summit in Chicago, which will take place next month, with Prime Minister Mario Monti and Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola. He also held talks with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

Smart Defence emphasises multinational cooperation in the acquisition of new capabilities. It will be a central issue at the Chicago Summit.

“At Chicago, we will show our commitment to acquire the capabilities we need to stay capable and fit for the future,” said Mr. Fogh Rasmussen. “We will adopt a number of multinational projects that will enhance our collective capabilities and enable Allies to do more together than each can afford to do on their own.”

At the summit, NATO heads of state and government are expected to make Smart Defence their new approach to planning and capabilities – not just now, but for years to come.

“In Chicago, I want Europe and North America to adopt a new mindset for how they approach the business of security, making cooperation on defence programmes a priority, rather than a last resort,” the Secretary General said.

The Secretary General praised Italy’s contribution to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, in the Mediterranean and off the Horn of Africa, noting that Italy’s contribution is one of the largest among all NATO Allies.

“Italy has been a staunch member of our Alliance since the start,” said the Secretary General, highlighting in particular Italy’s command of Regional Command West in Afghanistan.

NATO’s continued commitment to Afghanistan after 2014 will be a key topic in Chicago alongside Smart Defence, future capabilities and strengthening NATO’s network of partnerships around the world.