NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has welcomed that Slovenia has stopped the cuts in defence spending and encouraged Slovenia to gradually increase defence spending and move towards spending 2% of GDP on defence.
Mr. Stoltenberg suggested this during his meeting with President Borut Pahor of Slovenia at NATO Headquarters on Tuesday. They also discussed about the preparations for the NATO Summit in July.
Mr. Stoltenberg thanked Slovenia for important contributions to NATO, including troops to the KFOR mission, contributions to the Alliance’s mission in Afghanistan and to a NATO multinational battlegroup in Latvia.
“We are adapting the Alliance, and Slovenia is part of that. We are adapting the Alliance to a new and more demanding security environment with a more assertive Russia to the East and with the turmoil and the violence and the terrorism in the South, not in the least in Iraq, Syria and the wider Middle-East region,” the Secretary General said.
“NATO is responding, we are strengthening our collective defence in Europe, and we are projecting stability beyond our borders. We do that in the Western Balkans but we do it also in the fight against terrorism in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Mr. Stoltenberg also welcomed Slovenia’s support for efforts to strengthen cooperation between NATO and the European Union.
“We have been able to bring the NATO-EU cooperation to a new level,” he said. “We work together on issues like cyber, hybrid, military mobility and many other issues. And I also welcome the efforts to strengthen European defence, EU defence, but the important thing is that this is not an alternative to NATO. It is something which has to be developed in complementarity with NATO, because NATO is the organisation which is responsible for the collective defence of European NATO Allies,” he said.
Photo courtesy: NATO