by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the German Atlantic Association 'NATO Talk' Conference 2021
Thank you so much Jana.
And good morning to all of you.
It’s great to be back in Berlin. I have been in Berlin many, many times before but this is the first time I’m on a boat on this river. And not only on a boat on the river but on an electric boat. So it’s great to see what you achieve, in Germany and in Berlin.
Then of course it’s an honour to once again participate in a ‘NATO Talk’.
And I would like to thank all my hosts of German Atlantic Association, the Federal Academy for Security Policy for inviting me here today.
And then let me also say that it is always good to bein Berlin and Germany, because Germany is a very highly, highly valued Ally, contributing to our transatlantic security in many different ways.
From Baltic air policing, to maritime deployments in the Aegean sea.
And from leading the multinational NATO battlegroup in Lithuania, to our new logistics command in Ulm.
And Germany has also been a long-standing supporter of our peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.
And as you all know Germany was the second largest to contribute to our mission in Afghanistan.
So all of these contributions demonstrate the strong commitment of Germany to NATO, to our transatlantic bond and is highly valued by NATO and by all of us.
In an increasingly dangerous and competitive world, this commitment is as important as ever.
Today we face many different challenges.
Russia carries out aggressive actions. It interferes in other countries' affairs.
It has invested significantly in military capabilities, including new, advanced nuclear weapons.
And Russia continues its massive military build-up, as we see now around the borders of Ukraine. And it has shown a willingness to use military force against its neighbours.
Meanwhile, China is using its might to coerce other countries and control its own people. It is investing heavily in new technologies, like hypersonic glide vehicles. Expanding its global economic and military footprint in Africa, in the Arctic and in cyber-space.
And China is suppressing democracy and human rights at home. We don’t regard China as an adversary but we need to take into account the consequences for our security, the rise of China.
In addition, we face more frequent and sophisticated cyber-attacks. Hybrid tactics, as we see today from Belarus on the border with Poland. We also face persistent terrorist threats. The proliferation of nuclear weapons. And the security implications of climate change.
These challenges are all very different.
But they have one thing in common.
And that is that the best way to tackle them is to stay united. Europe and North America together in NATO.
That is why reinforcing the transatlantic unity and strengthening NATO is so important right now.
There is strong bi-partisan support for our Alliance, for NATO, in the United States.
The US wants more cooperation with Europe.
They have demonstrated this not just in words, but also in deeds.
In recent years, the US has increased its military presence in Europe.
With more troops, more exercises, and more pre-positioned equipment.
And for me that is actually a very strong demonstration of commitment to transatlantic security, that they actually increase their presence in Europe.
The US commitment to NATO was reiterated at our Brussels Summit in June this year.
When President Biden, together with Chancellor Merkel and all the other NATO leaders, adopted NATO 2030 –
an ambitious and forward-looking agenda for our security.
We took bold decisions to strengthen our Alliance even more, as the indispensable forum to consult, decide and, when necessary, act on all issues that affect our security. We decided to sharpen our technological edge.
So we are investing in the latest technologies. From artificial intelligence to biotech and quantum computers.
We are developing a Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic – what we call DIANA, to facilitate transatlantic cooperation and exchanges on critical technologies.
And we launched the new NATO Innovation Fund, with full involvement from Germany.
To invest in start-ups that will build and help us meet our security needs,
and strengthen the technological bond between Europe and North America.
At the Summit in Brussels, we also decided to address the impact of climate change on our security. So Allies are investing in sustainable solutions, and we welcome the fact that we have an electric boat demonstrating what sustainable solutions might be. We invest in bio-fuels for jet aircraft, and solar panels to power equipment.
And for the first time, NATO is developing a way to map military emissions across the Alliance, that’s the first step to be able to cut those emissions.
On technology, climate and in many other areas, we are committed to working even more closely with our partners.
Not least with the European Union.
NATO and the EU are different organisations, with different members, different roles and different tools.
But more than 90 percent of EU citizens live in a NATO country.
So we face the same security threats.
We share the same values.
And we have lifted our cooperation, the cooperation between NATO and the EU to unprecedented levels.
My ambition is to strengthen our partnership still further.
So I am now working with President Von der Leyen and President Michel on a new Joint Declaration between the two EU presidents and myself to chart the way forward for further strengthening NATO-EU cooperation.
As I have said many times, I welcome European efforts on defence.
NATO has been calling on European Allies for many years to invest more, and provide more capabilities.
It is good news that Allies, including Germany, are stepping up.
At the same time, we must avoid creating parallel structures in the EU, that would compete for the same, limited, pool of resources and forces that we rely on for our NATO Alliance.
What we need is new capabilities. Not new structures.
These are pivotal times. For Europe. For international security.
That is why I count on Germany to continue to invest in defence.
NATO’s 2 per cent guideline reflects clearly defined capability targets. And requirements that we have all agreed to meet.
I also count on Germany to strengthen European security within a transatlantic framework.
You are at the heart of Europe. With its largest economy. And you are a champion of multilateralism.
So Germany has a special responsibility to keep NATO strong. This means providing more and new capabilities. Soldiers that are well-trained and well-equipped. Planes that can fly. And ships that can sail.
And I count on Germany to remain committed to NATO’s nuclear sharing.
It is our ultimate security guarantee.
Our aim is a world free of nuclear weapons.
But as long as others have them, NATO must have them too.
The nuclear weapons we share in NATO
provide European Allies with an effective nuclear umbrella.
This, of course, also includes our eastern Allies.
And they are an important signal of Allied unity against any nuclear-armed adversary.
So NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements are of particular importance for Europe.
In today’s uncertain world, we are safer when Europe and North America stand together. In strategic solidarity. With a strong Germany at the heart of our Alliance.
Thank you, and then I’m ready to take your questions.