by Jeroen van der Veer at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council with the Group of Experts on NATO's New Strategic Concept

  • 17 May. 2010
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  • Last updated: 18 May. 2010 10:12

Left to right: Jeroen van der Veer (Vice Chair of the Group of Experts) talking with Madeleine Albright (Chair, Group of Experts)

JEROEN VAN DER VEER (Vice-Chair, NATO Strategic Concept Experts Group): Thank you, Madam Secretary; thank you, Secretary General for your very nice welcoming words. The point I'd like to emphasize is public support; how does our advice... how can you see that in relation with the so needed public support. First of all, for maximum clarity, if NATO does not get sufficient public support in the Alliance countries, then it will translate in not enough money for the military and that will translate itself often times in problems in NATO. So public support is absolutely key.

During this process, I thought very often why is that you get public support. Now, I think you have to fulfill three criteria: 1) a strong track record; 2) a clear strategy; and 3) the third is trust in the people who lead the organization who are the key stakeholders.

I look at our report. Yes, we write fairly briefly about the legacy of NATO. But its track record I think is at least a double plus. So that's there. And we just mentioned that in our report.

Then, if I think about a clear strategy that, as Madam Secretary just presented, we’ve given a very focused, quite specific advice about what the role and purpose of NATO is and how that should translate into the organization of NATO.

So I think that indeed our report can help leading up to the Lisbon process to have the strategic concept which is basically the document for the strategy of the coming 10 years.

And I think that the third point – trust in people who lead it – by having had this very open and transparent process – as the Secretary General said in the beginning, it was the most open, the most transparent process – I think that is the way indeed by choosing that process that people can say: "OK, I know which people are in charge, how they come to their decisions." So it is not only that I like the new strategy, because they can deal in a focused way to these new threats, but I know the people behind it. So I think that, at least, in my modest opinion, this report can help to rebuild public support for NATO. Thank you very much.