Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, believes that security necessitates investment not only in NATO but also in a strong partnership between NATO and the European Union. “As a believer in both Europe and NATO, I am convinced that Europeans should not be content with playing the role of a global spectator. We can be and must be global actors,” stated the NATO Secretary General at the Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy held at the Seimas.
The NATO Secretary General said that over the last four years, most European NATO Allies had reduced their defence spending despite global security challenges caused by instability, missile proliferation, terrorism, cyber-attacks, etc. “To tackle these challenges, Europe needs soft power instruments. But it also needs to back them up with hard military capabilities,” underlined Anders Fogh Rasmussen. In his opinion, if Europe does not invest more - financially and politically - in its own defence and security, then in the future, it will not be able to speak of its influence in the world.
The NATO Secretary General said that NATO and the EU shared the same values and the same strategic analysis of the challenges. Both organisations are on the same road and travelling towards the same destination - a Europe where the nations share responsibility for their security and remain a force for good in the world. As to the future cooperation between the EU and NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen stressed that it was essential to ensure that we did not push each other off the road by pursuing similar projects. In his opinion, cooperation, not duplication, is the way to success.
As regards the situation in Syria, Anders Fogh Rasmussen emphasised that NATO Allies had condemned a chemical weapons attack in the strongest possible terms and he believed that it could not go unanswered. In his view, the situation in Syria demonstrates that we continue to face significant security challenges and it is vital that we are prepared to meet them together.
The NATO Secretary General thanked Lithuania, holder of the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time, for pushing for strengthened cooperation between the EU and NATO. In his opinion, Lithuania proved how we all together could address important concerns. “It has made important contributions to our operations, including to our ongoing mission in Afghanistan. Lithuania has also been a leader on the issue of energy security. I am pleased to attend the opening of the NATO Centre of Excellence on Energy Security here later today,” said Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
More information on the Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy is available on the website of the parliamentary dimension of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.