Updated: 17-Mar-2004 NATO Speeches


17 March 2003
15.00 hrs


by NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
at the Inauguration of the new NG building at NATO Headquarters

Audio file .MP3/1631Kb
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Ladies and Gentlemen. The next few weeks will see the biggest ever expansion of NATO’s membership. In two weeks time, the flags of seven more Alliance member countries will be raised at our main gate. As a prelude to that event, I am glad to be here today to inaugurate a new annex to the NATO Headquarters that will house our new colleagues.

I know that we all want to wish Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia success in your new building.

Let me use this opportunity to extend some very sincere – and very well-deserved – words of thanks.

First of all, I want to salute the new members and their representatives here today. I want to commend them for their considerable efforts – in many areas – to prepare for membership. With their new offices, they can now be even more present, fully staffed and better equipped to deal with their important new roles and responsibilities in NATO.

I know the new members are anxious to get their offices in full running order. Some have already done so. Last minute fixes have been made to suit each nation’s needs. Movers and their trucks have been at work all month, and especially this week. We now want to see to it that the cafeteria is up and running, to make this a fully-fledged office building.

Which leads me to the second group of people I wish to thank – all those who have helped to put up this building. The task has been enormous. Over 400 offices have been created, in just nine months. Working closely with the seven new members, Executive Management, NATO’s Office of Security and especially Construction and General Services have done a remarkable job, and I wish to commend them for that.

Once again, a warm welcome to the new members. A warm welcome also the NATO Staff Association and the Staff Liaison Committee who will also occupy part of this building.

I am very pleased to declare this Ng wing ready for your occupancy. And to invite you to join me in a toast to your success in these new premises.

(And let me add that I hope it will only be temporary – used only until the new HQ becomes a reality.)

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