NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday (28 November 2019) for a strategic discussion on strengthening the Alliance.
“We just had good and open discussions addressing a wide range of issues, addressing how we can further strengthen and modernize the NATO Alliance,” said the Secretary General.
He praised France for its troops, high-end capabilities, and its political will to deploy them. France contributes troops to NATO’s battlegroup in Estonia, and regularly supports NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission.
Mr. Stoltenberg also underlined France’s major role in the fight against terrorism, with thousands of troops deployed in the Sahel and Levant. He expressed his deepest condolences for the loss of French soldiers in Mali.
The Secretary General and President Macron agreed on the importance of multilateral institutions in uncertain times. Mr. Stoltenberg stressed that NATO is the only platform where Europe and North America can address strategic issues together, including the fight against terrorism, a more assertive Russia, and the rise of China.
The Secretary General welcomed France’s increased defence spending and support for the European Union’s efforts on defence. When done in the right way, he noted, these efforts can strengthen NATO’s European pillar.
“But the European Union cannot defend Europe; European unity cannot replace transatlantic unity,” he said. “A strong NATO and a strong European Union are two sides of the same coin,” Mr. Stoltenberg added.
The Secretary General and President Macron agreed on the importance of further strengthening NATO’s political role, and Allies will discuss NATO’s continued adaption at the meeting of NATO leaders in London next week.
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