Statement by Prime Minister Støre after meeting with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg

Kjære alle, jeg vil jo gjerne si ‘god ettermiddag’ på norsk, siden vi er på norsk grunn, og vi har en norsk generalsekretær, men; Ladies and gentlemen,

Full transcript of the PM’s introduction

Jens Stoltenberg and Jonas Gahr Støre
Jens Stoltenberg and Jonas Gahr Støre at the joint press conference at Office of the Prime Minister 30 May 2023. Credit: Office of the Prime Minister

It has been a great pleasure to welcome the Secretary General to a familiar building. Now, as Secretary General of NATO, we have benefitted from close contact with Jens Stoltenberg as Secretary General, but we also need formal settings and we have had one today.

You all know to what extent NATO is a cornerstone in Norway’s security policy since its foundation – not less today, even more – and Norway takes active part in the shaping of NATO’s strategy throughout the alliance – but, of course, with a particular focus on the North.

A key in our debate today and also leading up to the NATO Summit in July in Vilnius, is the ongoing war in Ukraine, our support to Ukraine, and how we can develop a partnership with Ukraine which can help the country to defend itself and secure its independence and democracy.

Norway stands together with allies in strong and lasting support for Ukraine. We have provided military support since the start of the invasion and we will continue to do so; a wide spectre of training and military equipment. And we are also focused on supporting and training Ukrainian air fighter personnel, for the eventuality in the future of Ukraine gaining such capacity. You are aware of the Nansen Program, NOK 15 billion, each year, over five years, aimed for reconstruction, but at this initial stage we focus 50/50 on military and civilian support, and that is necessary for the time being.

I will also touch on the burden-sharing inside NATO; it has been the decision of my government now to make public a plan for Norway to reach two percent defence spending of our GDP by 2026. Since 2014, we have been in a group of countries without a plan; now we will have a plan and we will reach that goal in 2026, and we will present a detailed plan to NATO when our next long-term defence plan is presented to the Parliament next year.

I would then, finally, Secretary General, focus on our firm support to Sweden’s membership of NATO. Finland is now on board after a short period. Sweden fulfils all criteria; we agreed on them in Madrid last July, you played an important role in that, and now we need to see all Nordic countries together. And we are cooperating closely with our Nordic neighbours to present and prepare a coherent defence planning for the whole Northern Europe.

I would also mention – my final point – that Secretary General has followed-up the initiative by the German Chancellor and myself, some months ago, to have NATO included in the defending and protecting of critical infrastructure, linked to energy and particularly to installations in the North Sea. I believe that NATO can play an important role in cooperating with private sector. This is an issue for the Mediterranean, for the Atlantic and also for the North Sea, and I am pleased that the Secretary General responded swiftly and established a coordination cell at the Head Quarters at NATO and I hope to see this reflected also in Vilnius. Now, Jens, please (the floor is yours).