Joint press conference
with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Supreme Allied Commander Transformation General Jean-Paul Paloméros - Secretary General's opening remarks
Thank you so much, General Paloméros, and thank you for the excellent work Allied Command Transformation is doing. You are NATO headquarters in the United States, and by being that you are a great symbol of the transatlantic bond which is the backbone of our Alliance. And to ensure that the Alliance is able to adapt and to transform the work you are doing is of great importance and the seminar which you are arranging today and tomorrow is an important contribution to the discussions we need to develop the answers to a changing security environment.
And to the east we see Russia. Russia has broken rules through its aggressive actions to Ukraine. The ceasefire in Ukraine is largely holding, but it remains fragile. And the important thing now is that the ceasefire is fully implemented, respected, that there is a complete redrawal of all the heavy weapons and that the monitors have a full access, so they can monitor the ceasefire.
And to the south of the Alliance, in the Middle East and in North Africa, we see violent extremism and the threats which are linked to export of terrorism to our own cities.
To respond to these threats, we are implementing the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War.
We are creating, as I mentioned in my introduction, a very high-readiness “spearhead” force, with some elements ready to move in as little as 48 hours.
We are more than doubling the size of the NATO Response Force.
The United States is playing a major role in these efforts. The European Reassurance Initiative is a strong signal of transatlantic commitment. And America has sent planes, ships and troops to reinforce Allies in Central and Eastern Europe and I welcomed that very much.
Europeans are also taking responsibility for Europe’s security.
Most of the ships, planes and soldiers reinforcing the Eastern part of our Alliance are European.
And six European nations will lead the Spearhead Force in the coming years.
This is NATO at its best. North Americans and Europeans coming together to enhance security for all of us. Acting as one.
The challenges we face will not go away. We face a paradigm shift in our security. That is why today we are adapting to hybrid warfare and why we are adapting NATO to a new security environment.
Hybrid warfare uses a combination of hard and soft power to destabilise countries. And hides behind a thick veil of deception.
So we need to plan, deter and defend against hybrid threats. Sharpen our skills and capabilities. And speed up our decision-making.
This is what our seminar is all about and I’m ready to take your questions.