by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Heads of State and Government
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this landmark Summit.
Today, we come together at a time of increased uncertainty. We see challenges to our security in many forms and from many places. But the NATO Alliance is here to ensure that our people are safe. That our countries are secure. And that our values are preserved.
This is what NATO has done for almost seventy years. And as the challenges we face change and evolve, so too does NATO.
Here in Warsaw, we will take important decisions that will shape our security for many years to come. We will strengthen our deterrence and defence to protect our countries against attacks from any direction.
And we will strengthen our ability to project stability beyond our borders. At this moment, men and women from our armed forces are on duty. Often standing in harm’s way to ensure our safety.
So it is right that we begin this Summit by honouring them. It is a privilege that we are joined today by representatives of the armed services of all 28 NATO Allies, and of Montenegro, which is on track to become the 29th member of our Alliance.
If you would please stand.
[TRIBUTE TO TROOPS]
Dear friends, you are here today to represent your brothers and sisters-in-arms.
The very best that your countries have to offer.
Our men and women in uniform serve around the world. On the ground, from Afghanistan to Kosovo. At sea, from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean. And in the air, from the Baltics to Turkey. I want to express my gratitude to all those who serve under the NATO flag. And to thank you on behalf of the nearly one billion people who rely on you to keep them safe. You put your lives on the line so that we may all live in peace and security.
I also want to thank your families, and all those who stand by you and support you.
Men and women of the armed forces, we value your professionalism. We admire your courage. And we honour your service. NATO is the greatest Alliance in the world because of you.
Now please join me in a moment of silence to honour those who have fallen and those who have suffered injuries – seen and unseen – in the course of their duties.
Opening of the meeting of the meeting of the North Atlantic Council
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me first thank the people of Warsaw and of Poland for their warm welcome. I would like to thank all those who helped to organise this Summit. And I would like to offer my particular thanks to President Duda for hosting us. Our first meeting will focus on further strengthening our deterrence and defence.
In less than two years, we have come a long way. We have made NATO faster, stronger and more ready.
Today we will take the next steps. We will agree to enhance our forward presence here in Poland, as well as in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. We will also strengthen our presence in the south-eastern part of our Alliance.
And we will step up our cyber and ballistic missile defences. These are major decisions. All of them require political will.
And they require resources. Two years ago, we pledged to spend more and better on defence. We have stopped the cuts. And we have started to increase our defence budgets. So we are moving into the right direction. But we must keep up the momentum. Because our security is at stake, in a more dangerous world. I will now invite President Andrzej Duda to make his welcoming remarks.
[PRESIDENT DUDA’S REMARKS]
Thank you so much, President Duda.
And this ends the public part of this meeting.
I would like to thank the representatives from the press for being here with us for the opening of the meeting and ask them to leave the room.