Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the North Atlantic Council meeting in Defence Ministers session

  • 09 Oct. 2012
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  • Last updated: 09 Oct. 2012 13:55

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to this meeting of NATO Defence Ministers.

Tomorrow morning we will meet with our partners to discuss our missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. This afternoon we will focus our discussions on how to provide security in a time of economic austerity. 

We live in an unpredictable world.  And our Alliance needs the right forces, the right capabilities, and the right structures to deter and defend against any threat to the safety and security of our populations and territories.  It also needs to be ready, and able, when necessary, to engage and help manage all phases of a crisis.

To do this, NATO nations need to continue investing in defence. There is no alternative. We recognise it may be hard to find fresh resources for defence while nations take the necessary steps to reduce their deficits and debts.  But we must not overlook that security is the foundation of prosperity. 

The key to overcoming this apparent dilemma is closer cooperation.  More multinational teamwork can help us spend our scarce resources more effectively.

C’est l’approche dont nous étions convenus à notre sommet de Chicago, il y a quelques mois.  Et elle nous procure déjà des avantages.  Nous allons de l’avant en menant 24 projets multinationaux, destinés à fournir des capacités cruciales, comme la neutralisation des bombes placées au bord des routes, le partage des munitions intelligentes, et l’amélioration de l’efficacité de nos avions de patrouille maritime.  D’autres projets multinationaux sont à l’étude, et il est important de maintenir la dynamique.

As we look to the future, we need to determine how NATO, as an Alliance, can best support the development of vital capabilities. We need to identify new ways to increase our cooperation – not just in terms of capability projects, but also in terms of training, in exercising, and in long-term planning. And we need to agree that we will increase our investment in defence once the economy recovers.

Put simply, we need to ensure that each Ally gets the best return from its spending on defence and security – and that NATO remains the most modern, most capable and most effective Alliance in the world.

And now, I would like to thank the media for joining us.