NATO Secretary General: ‘Europe is America’s Best Friend’

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Nov. 18, 2016Two World Wars – and the Cold War – have taught us that the security of Europe relies on the United States. And that the United States has a profound strategic interest in a stable and secure Europe.

Today, the United States continues to demonstrate its commitment to Europe’s security. It will deploy a new armoured brigade to Europe. And deliver equipment and supplies to support future reinforcements, if needed.

And at the same time Europeans have always been there for Americans too. Since NATO was founded in 1949, America has had no more steadfast and reliable partner than Europe. Europe is America’s best friend.

NATO has been a unique force multiplier. A platform from which to project strategic interests. And for working seamlessly with Allies and partners around the globe.

So we have to remember that the only time when NATO has invoked our collective defence clause, Article 5, was in solidarity with the United States. As a direct response to the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Since then hundreds of thousands of European troops have served in Afghanistan. Over a thousand have paid the ultimate price. And NATO continues to play a crucial role in the fight against international terrorism.

Every NATO Ally is part of the US-led coalition to counter ISIL. Drawing on decades of experience working together in NATO exercises and operations. Our AWACS surveillance aircraft support coalition air operations. NATO is training Iraqi officers to better fight ISIL. And we work with others throughout North Africa and the Middle East to help them improve their security.

Europe and the United States are close economic and trade partners. Together, they account for one third of world trade and half of global economic output.

A stronger, safer, and more prosperous Europe means a stronger, safer, more prosperous United States.

That is an essential lesson of twentieth century history. And we should not forget it….

Peace and security in Europe cannot be taken for granted. In these uncertain times we need strong American leadership. And we need Europeans to shoulder their fair share of the burden. But, above all, we need to recognise the value of the partnership between Europe and America. A partnership on which we all rely. And which we all need to nurture. Because united we are stronger and we are safer.

Excerpts from speech by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) in Brussels, November 18, 2016

Image: Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Nov. 18, 2016 (photo: NATO)