Joint press conference

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa

  • 18 May. 2023 -
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  • Last updated 19 May. 2023 08:23

(As delivered)

Prime Minister Costa,
Dear António,
Thank you for those kind words. It’s always a great pleasure to be in Lisbon. 
And to meet with you. And as you said, Portugal is a founding member of this Alliance and I appreciate your strong leadership, your strong personal commitment to the bond between North America and Europe in NATO. 
Portugal is a steadfast Ally.
At the heart of NATO.
You make significant contributions to our Air Policing in the east of the Alliance.
And to the NATO multinational battlegroup in Romania.
Portugal hosts the NATO Cyber Academy – actually we were there together to open it a couple of years ago. 
The Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre, and STRIKFORNATO.
Today, our security environment is more dangerous than it has been since the Cold War.
We have just discussed as you said Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine.
NATO will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.
I therefore thank Portugal for your support.
Including the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks from Portugal to Ukraine.
And your contribution through NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package.
Since the start of Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine, NATO Allies have provided unprecedented level of support. 
And I am confident that Ukrainian forces have the capabilities they need to retake occupied land.
Our support has evolved through the different phases of the conflict.
From light anti-tank weapons, to advanced air defence systems, armoured vehicles and heavy battle tanks.
And I welcome the recent announcements by Allies on providing cruise missiles, and training Ukrainian pilots to use western fighter jets.    
We must maintain our support. Both now, and for the longer term.
So that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign, independent state in Europe.

 In Vilnius in July, our Summit will send a strong signal of support.
I expect Allies will agree a strategic multi-year assistance programme. 
To enable Ukraine to transition from Soviet-era to NATO doctrines, equipment and training.
And to achieve interoperability with NATO Allies.
While we respond to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, we must also tackle the continued threat of terrorism and instability in the South.
We see Russia’s destabilising actions in Africa, and how Russia and China are making in-roads in the region.
The Summit will be an opportunity for Allies to address these issues.
And we must do more to build defence capacity with key partners in the South, such as Tunisia, Mauritania and Jordan.
We also discussed the need to further enhance resilience of our critical undersea and energy infrastructure. 
NATO has recently created an undersea infrastructure cell to coordinate efforts between NATO Allies, partners, and the private sector.
We are also working more closely with the European Union, through the NATO-EU task force on resilience and critical infrastructure.
And I expect further announcements at the Vilnius Summit.  
Ensuring our security in a dangerous world means we need to invest even more in our defence and our deterrence. 
At Vilnius, I expect Allies will agree a new Defence Investment Pledge, to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence.
I welcome the recent increases in Portugal’s defence spending.
But all Allies need to do more.
We face many challenges which no country or continent can tackle alone.
So we must take bold decisions.
And demonstrate our commitment to the transatlantic bond.
So Prime Minister Costa,
Thank you again for your leadership, your strong personal commitment to our NATO Alliance.
I look forward to welcoming you to the NATO Summit in Vilnius in July.