|Updated: 31-Jan-2003||NATO Speeches|
by José Maria Aznar, President of the Government of Spain
May I, too, welcome and congratulate the countries that have received the invitation to join our Alliance. I would like to briefly stress two ideas on this happy occasion.
Of the decisions we have taken or are going to take at this Summit, clearly one of the most significant is the enlargement of the Alliance, a process we already started at the Madrid Summit. Today in Prague, we are inviting seven countries to join the Alliance. This is, evidently, an extraordinarily ambitious endeavour, a historical change in the Atlantic Alliance and a milestone in political success that does not end here, involving as it does obligations and responsibilities in security and defence matters for the seven invited countries.
All the countries invited today are also candidates to European Union accession. And, just as we are meeting here today, I trust to see you in the near future around the European Council table. In my opinion, this shows that we are heading in the right direction : more Europe, which in turn implies a stronger and more robust transatlantic link. These are the essential elements for our societies to be more free, more prosperous, and more effective in defending our values.