Updated: 24-Jan-2003 NATO Speeches


21 November


by J.M. Durão Barroso, Prime Minister of Portugal
Opening session of the North Atlantic Council

Mr Secretary General,

I will not disagree with what has been said so far.

With new members, NATO demonstrates that it will remain crucial for our collective defence. It also shows that the transatlantic link maintains all its vitality.

I am happy to participate in the decision to invite Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to start accession talks with NATO. NATO’s first summit in the new millennium couldn’t have started in a better way. In a way we are pulling down the last remains of the Berlin Wall. It is only appropriate that this decision is being taken in Prague, symbolic capital of resistance against oppression and for the values NATO has upheld because of peace, democracy and human rights.
The new members will come into an alliance that is going to be different in many senses from the one some of us founded, more proactive, less static, more global, but nevertheless remaining the relevant reference in matters of collective defence and security. Some fear that NATO will become too diverse or that it will function less well. I don’t share that view. Instead, I see a solid political community of like-minded nations working together. Of course, I also see this as a part of the ongoing process of European integration, but a European integration that does not undermine, on the contrary, it only reinforces transatlantic solidarity.

Thank you Mr Secretary General.

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