Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg previewed this week’s meeting of NATO Defence Ministers at a press conference on Tuesday (2 October 2018). Ministers will take forward the important decisions leaders made at the NATO Summit in July to adapt and strengthen the Alliance.
They are expected to discuss progress in boosting NATO’s deterrence and defence and review progress in defence spending and burden-sharing, and in adapting the NATO Command Structure. Ministers will also discuss NATO-EU cooperation, and hold a meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission.
On Wednesday, there will first be a NATO-Georgia Commission meeting. Ministers will take stock of the developments in NATO-Georgia cooperation, including the implementation of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, and discuss Black Sea security - “a priority for NATO and for Georgia” said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
In the evening, ministers will discuss how they can further improve burden sharing. “Over the past two years, European Allies and Canada have spent a cumulative $41 billion US dollars more on defence”, said Mr. Stoltenberg, demonstrating the “new sense of urgency to invest 2 % of GDP on defence and to have credible national plans to get there”. The Secretary General added that he expects “all Allies to stay on course, to continue making progress, and to honour their commitments”.
On Thursday, Ministers will discuss NATO’s deterrence and defence posture in response to instability in the Middle East and Africa and a more assertive Russia. Ministers will review progress on adapting NATO’s Command Structure. With more than 1,200 additional personnel and two new commands, the adapted Command Structure “will ensure we can have the right forces in the right place at the right time”, said the Secretary General. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty “is in danger”, said Mr. Stoltenberg, adding that “Allies agree that Russia is in violation of the Treaty”. He urged Russia to address these concerns “in a substantial and transparent way”.
In this last session, Allied ministers will also meet with the High Representative / Vice President Federica Mogherini and with partners from Finland and Sweden to address NATO-EU cooperation in areas such as countering hybrid and cyber threats, and improving military mobility. NATO’s Exercise Trident Juncture, taking place in Norway later this month, will “test the ability to move forces quickly”, he said.