by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the inauguration of the headquarters of the NATO Forces Integration Unit Romania (NFIU)
Mr President, Mr Acting Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Excellences, ladies and gentlemen, soldiers.
It is a really great honor to be here today.
And I am very happy to be able to visit the NATO Force Integration Unit in Romania – and to see how fast work has progressed and to see the results of the decisions we took last fall. And to see that it unfolds and it is implemented in Bucharest.
This small headquarters is part of a big plan.
The biggest reinforcement of NATO’s collective defence since the end of the Cold War.
Six such units are being set up in the eastern part of our Alliance: here in Romania, as well as in Bulgaria, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Around 40 people will be working here.
From Romania, but also from other NATO member states.
They will have a key role in planning, exercising, and assisting reinforcements, if needed.
This unit will also send a clear message: NATO is here. NATO is ready to defend against any threat.
We are ready to defend Romania and all other NATO Allies.
We have just planted a fir tree. This is a wonderful symbol.
The fir tree is ever green.
It will grow in Romanian soil for generations to come.
Like the tree, NATO’s roots in Romania run deep. And are growing.
And Romania has been firmly anchored in NATO for over a decade.
Romanian troops have travelled far away from home to make a significant contribution to our missions – from Afghanistan to Kosovo.
And they continue to do so.
And we honour their sacrifice.
And we appreciate their remarkable professionalism and their dedication.
I know how proud Romanians are of their armed forces. And you have good reason to be proud.
Romania also helps to promote stability in our neighbourhood.
Supporting our partners the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia to get stronger.
You are also hosting a key part of NATO’s missile defence system.
You are setting up the Multinational Divisional headquarters South-East, another major contribution to our collective defence.
And you have made important political commitments to raise defence spending to 2 % of GDP within the next three years.
So NATO is strong with Romania.
And Romania is strong within NATO.
This solidarity is the very core of our Alliance. All for one and one for all.
And our commitment to this principle, enshrined in article 5 of our founding treaty, is unwavering.
Today we face a fundamental change in our security environment.
A pattern of aggressive Russian actions to the east. Greater turmoil and extremism to the south. To respond effectively, NATO must fundamentally adapt.
This is exactly what we are doing.
And we have already achieved a lot.
We are increasing our readiness and our speed.
Our interim spearhead force is now operational.
We have boosted our NATO Response Force to number around 40,000 troops.
We can now take decisions to deploy them and other forces faster than before.
And we are developing ways to deal with hybrid threats, including by working closely with the European Union.
Everything that we do is defensive and proportional. It is transparent.
And in line with our international commitments.
We do this to keep our countries safe.
And to uphold the fundamental values that we cherish: freedom, democracy and our open societies.
The tree we have just planted will stand and it is a proud symbol of what we are doing together.
It is a symbol of Romania’s strength in NATO.
Of NATO’s protection for Romania.
And for the perennial bond between Romania and NATO.
It is great to be here and to see this new headquarters taking place and being established here in Bucharest.