EU's mainstream parties challenged in 2015 electionsWonderful to see everybody here. We then have two Ministers of Defence. Not one, but two. I think these are excellent suggestions for ministers to put on finslo panel, given the geopolitical positioning of these two nations and how they interrelate, both in the EU, not EU, etc. Great to anadrol via oral you finsko clen nato as well, Mr Director.
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Wonderful to see everybody here. We then have two Ministers of Defence. Not one, but two. I think these are excellent suggestions for ministers to put on this panel, given the geopolitical positioning of these two nations and how they interrelate, both in the EU, not EU, etc. Great to have you here as well, Mr Director. And on my immediate right, if I may say so, a great friend of mine. Someone who was a mentor to me in my days as a uniformed officer, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, of the United States, one of the leading defence experts and, of course, a leading voice in Washington on all defence issues and on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
We are all peers together in this conversation. With a question mark at the end. But I want to say a few words about why. First of all, European and capable; this is not the first time this week I appeared on the podium with my colleague, the Minister of Defence of Norway, and also with Jorge Domecq, who is the Head of the European Defence Agency.
In Brussels this week, we had a signing ceremony during the Defence Ministerial for the new multirole tanker and transport aircraft.
This is a big deal because it brings together already, and this is the point I wanted to stress, it already brings together NATO and the EU, bending metal, putting together new defence capabilities. And so people ask, you know, can this happen? Can you do this? The answer is yes, we are already doing it. And since, they have helped us, through the Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, to really figure out this problem and to really press ahead and to make things happen inside NATO.
And then the last thing I wanted to say has to do with one I wanted to add, and that is transatlantic. Thank you very much. And thank you for the invitation and thank you for the possibility to discuss this topic here in Munich. When I was 25 years old, served in the army. The Soviet Union was something dark, dangerous, unknown, behind the border. I have a daughter who is 30 years younger than me. For her now, Russia is the most exciting neighbour country.
She knows… she has students her age, with people, with parents from Russia. She sees it differently. The difference between me and Hanna, is that Hanna, from she was born, knew that on both sides of a border there lives people like us. I needed to learn that when I was grown up, grew up. So, when the answer is today, could we cooperate… when the question is could we cooperate, the answer is yes, we need to.
We have, for decades, cooperated. We have Sweden and Finland, which is a member of EU, but have not had the possibility to go into the Alliance, of historical reasons and geographical reasons, and cultural reasons. Despite this, we have been able to create one of the best regional cooperation system and one of the most integrated regions in the world, in the Nordic. And I think we could get some examples from that cooperation also, when we are discussing EU and NATO, because the Nordic countries is better when we cooperate with the Baltic countries.
This is a way for some other countries to participate. And the crises we will see in the future are different from the crises we had in the past, because it will… the border between a civil crisis and a military crisis will be blurred.
We will have problems with telling when does it start, where will it end. We need to build defence forces, but we will also need to build more diplomacy, more economic aids and more communication technologies, be good at that. And thank you for inviting me to this conference and to this very important panel. But, to be honest, we would have never worked with those projects if we would have believed that they would, in any way, step over NATO or kind of copy what NATO is doing.
I think it is crystal clear to everybody that NATO and the transatlantic Alliance is the crucial deterrent which keeps Europe safe. Now, I think we have found a way forward with the EU defence, which would, and this is certainly my preference, which would focus on the strong parts of EU.
Because remember, EU is not a military organisation. So, I think EU is most capable to help in the issues where civil and military meld together. And let me mention a couple of them where I think our cooperation has a lot of perspective; First, military mobility. There are practically, logistically… we can simplify that using the tools which EU has in its hand. I hope that we could very quickly achieve some of the first results when it comes to military mobility. Now some countries have the limit of 40 days.
In five days of less. There are some things which can be done very, very quickly. Again, there are civilian aspects to it, there are military aspects to it. We can use this as a platform. Estonia organised a cyber defence exercise for Defence Ministers.
Thank you, Mr Minister. Well, I would start off by saying I have the privilege to have worked on both sides of town, and I think to talk about the debate which has been in the newspapers these days, about competition between NATO and EU, is something of the past. And I went back to the [inaudible] text and I went back to the strategic concept of NATO in , the first one after the end of the Cold War, and the language on a stronger European defence is very strong in that strategic concept.
And if I go to the strategic concept of , there, there is a sentence that says the EU is a strategic and unique partner for NATO, and there is a welcoming of the Treaty of Lisbon.
So, we should really realise that we are trying to recast what has been agreed by our member states. Now, perceptions is another thing. I think, at present, there is a need to move on defence at European level because, as we all know, three quarters of the EU citizens want the EU to do more in security and defence. It is a need, from an industrial point of view, we cannot continue with the fragmentation of military requirements and we need to harmonise them.
We see that the EU industry of defence has been diminishing over time, and capabilities without the defence industries to sustain them is not a complete capability. But not only that, there is a call, and we see it in the US strategy, starting in , asking the Europeans to provide for their own security. The important thing is not that it brings in new ideas, but it needs to help us to get out old ideas.
And, with PESCO, the important thing is that we have to stop planning in purely national terms, and start planning in a coherent manner in Europe, so that we can have a… an interoperable, capable, deployment group of forces.
And now I come to the issue of… many times we discuss about the burden sharing debate. We should be thinking of maintaining a shared vision, which is as important as a level of investment.
And secondly, we need to move from a partnership which is only operational and doctrinal, into a partnership that includes technological and industrial matters.
And this I have been saying for some time. And we have to be, as Europeans, ready to participate in this effort also, and I have made that point many times. And then to come to the issue of detracting capabilities from what NATO needs. Well, I would only point out that in the European Defence Agency, working very closely with NATO, with all members states, we have been working on a very sensitive issue which the Minister mentioned before, which is military mobility. NATO had been working on it for a few years.
The important thing is that all these initiatives have to be capability driven and that we ensure the coherence for those member states which are also in NATO, that they are not contradictory to what they are doing for NATO. So, I do not see any obstacle to a very close involvement in the activities we are carrying forward, and I hope that that will be the case. And we are doing that in many other domains, in Single European Skies and many others.
So, that… I will leave it there. Well thank you for… thank you for having me. Jim, thanks for having me. Anything that can push back against this wave of nationalism throughout the world, I am for. But the main thing for me is I am appreciative of any effort that would make our European Allies think as a group. And so, if this initiative can create a more coherent voice, a better deal with the common threats we face; our friends in Russia are challenging all democracies in the European Union and the United States and throughout the world, if we can coordinate our response on the cyber side better, speak with one voice with the Russians more effectively, from an American perspective, the more you can contribute to NATO, the easier it is for me to talk to President Trump.
And I have been to Afghanistan and Iraq 42 times. I think it actually may be the antidote to this nationalist fever, where we [begin] to think about our commonality and our threats, but how we deal with the threats and make NATO more effective. So, the idea that Britain sees the European Union as a bad economic deal, but NATO being a good deal for the British, maybe this can be a bridge and maybe it can slow down some of the other countries who are thinking that the European Union is no longer a good deal for them.
From my point of view, as an American who believes that democracies are under attack, the more alliances the better between democratic countries, the more integration of capabilities the better. I am glad to be with you. So, we do have a kind of a model that we can use to make this work, operationally. So, those would be a couple of operators thoughts to throw out to the panel.
How do you think that will play in this? So, but that means we have well honed ways for dealing with nuclear weapons. In the Alliance, we have obviously dual capable aircraft, we have… we have now the B61 warhead that is going through its life extension programme, so we see the future with regard to our dual capable non strategic missions in Europe.
And that is an area where the Allies are working very hard now to think about the future in that regard. What does it mean? How are Allies going to be working together in the future on that particular set of missions? In addition to which, of course, we have the strategic nuclear forces that are in the hands of the United States, the UK and France, and they play their own particular role.
That means thinking about how we train and exercise, thinking about how we discuss nuclear weapons at the NAC table, these are all issues that I think are very, very important. Let me just take a moment. Everybody ready to go with the audience? So, the first question, by tradition, is asked by one of the young leaders, young Munich leaders, who may or may not be moving to a microphone.