Opening remarks by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
at the ceremony inaugurating the headquarters of the NATO Force Integration Unit (NFIU) in Lithuania
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, we raise the NATO flag over six new headquarters. The NATO Force Integration Units.
Here in Vilnius. But also in Bucharest, Bydgoszcz, Sofia, Riga, and Tallinn.
As the NATO flag goes up in six of our Eastern Allies, our whole Alliance takes a big step forward.
Towards greater solidarity. Greater strength. And greater readiness.
These six new command and control units are inaugurated today.
The staff of each one is a symbol of NATO solidarity.
Around half will come from the host nation.
And the other half from other Allies.
This provides a vital link between national forces and multinational NATO forces.
And it is a concrete demonstration that every NATO Ally is committed to each other’s defence.
Each headquarters will have a key role in planning and exercising NATO forces. And, if need be, in assisting potential reinforcements.
They will ensure that, should our forces need to move, they can move quickly and effectively.
And they help send a clear message:
No NATO Ally stands alone.
NATO is here. And NATO is ready.
Ready to defend all Allies against any threat.
Solidarity is the essence of our Alliance.
Our commitment to this fundamental principle – that an attack on one is an attack on all – is unwavering.
Today we face a series of fundamental changes in our security environment.
To respond effectively, NATO must adapt fundamentally.
That is exactly what we are doing.
These small headquarters are part of a far larger plan.
They are part of the most significant reinforcement of NATO’s collective defence since the end of the Cold War.
We have increased our readiness and our speed.We have significantly boosted our NATO Response Force. With the new Spearhead Force at its core.
And we can deploy our forces much faster than before. And we are developing ways to deal with hybrid threats.
We will take further steps at the Warsaw Summit next year.
NATO seeks confrontation with no one.
On the contrary, we seek a Europe that is whole, free and at peace.
But we will do whatever it takes to keep our nations safe.
Our commitment to collective defence, and to one another, is rock solid.
So it is an honour to declare the six new NATO Force Integration Units in Lithuania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Romania and Poland open.