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NATO Ministerials discussed new Strategic Concept, missile defence and reform

NATO Ministers of Defence and of Foreign Affairs have started their deliberations today to prepare the agenda for their Heads of State and Government that will meet at the upcoming NATO Summit in Lisbon, on 19 and 20 November, to set the course for the Alliance in the next decade and reform the organization.

The agenda of the meetings in Brussels will focus on NATO’s new Strategic Concept, missile defence and reform. In his opening remarks, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that “starting today, and over the course of the next few weeks, we will shape and agree the new Strategic Concept.”

He stressed that the new Strategic Concept will guide the Alliance through the next decade. “It is critical that we get it right. NATO’s core mission, to protect the 900 million citizens of NATO countries from attack, must never change – but it must be modern defence, against modern threats,” the Secretary General said.

Missile defence

Moving on to the ministerial discussions on missile defence, the Secretary General highlighted that “we must also decide if we want NATO to be able to defend all of Europe against the threat of missile attack” and that he believed the time was ripe to take this decision.

“The threat is clear. The capability exists. And the costs are manageable. I believe we can and should make missile defence for Europe a NATO capability,” Mr Fogh Rasmussen said.

Reform

On NATO reform, the Secretary General stated that “the Alliance is already good value for money. By standing together, we get more security than we ever could by going it alone. But we must do better.”

He said that NATO’s command structure and agencies were in need of reform and that Allies should buy and operate more equipment together that they could not afford individually. “Less infrastructure; leaner and more effective headquarters; more deployable forces; coherent cuts in national defense budgets, so we retain what we need as an Alliance. A reform agenda to guide NATO’s transformation, through and beyond this period of austerity,” he concluded.

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