NATO Summit 2014: PM speaks at North Atlantic Council meeting

Prime Minister David Cameron spoke at the North Atlantic Council meeting on the future of NATO and the need to adapt to face new threats.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Rt Hon David Cameron

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PM speaks at North Atlantic Council meeting

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When NATO last met here in the UK in 1990, many would have hoped that its core aim would soon have been fulfilled. After the long years of the Cold War, the vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace seemed within our grasp. Yet today the protection and security that NATO provides is as vital to our future as it has ever been in our past.

We face new and evolving dangers. To the East, Russia is ripping up the rulebook with its annexation of Crimea and its troops on sovereign soil in Ukraine. To the South, an arc of instability bends from North Africa to the Middle East.

Last night we discussed the threat posed by ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) in Iraq and Syria.

So our message is clear. We are united in our condemnation of these barbaric and despicable acts. They should be very clear, these terrorists: their threats will only harden our resolve to stand up for our values and to defeat them.

To do so - and to deal with all the threats we face - our great alliance must now evolve and refocus on the new capabilities that we need to keep our people safe. And I hope that in these sessions today we can agree the changes that are needed. For me there are 3.

Acting more swiftly

First as Russia tramples illegally over Ukraine we must reassure our Eastern European members that we will always uphold our Article 5 commitments to collective self-defence. So we must be able to act more swiftly.

In 2002, NATO stood down its high readiness force. So I hope we can agree a multi-national spearhead force deployable anywhere in the world in just 2 to 5 days.

This would be part of a reformed NATO Response Force with Headquarters in Poland, forward units in the Eastern Allies, and pre-positioned equipment and infrastructure to allow more exercises and if necessary rapid reinforcement. If we can agree this, the UK will contribute 3,500 personnel to this multi-national force. And we must scale up our readiness to respond to any threat they face.

Increasing our capacity

Second, as the Secretary General has said, we must increase our capacity. I hope today we can reaffirm our public commitment to spend 2% of our GDP on defence and 20% of that money on equipment. This would send a strong message to those who threaten us, that our collective resolve is as strong as ever.

This issue of equipment is as important as the overall amount of money. What matters most of all is what are we able to do, what are we able to deploy, what enables us to respond rapidly and together collectively to the threats we face? Those are the questions we must answer with our increases in capability.

Extending our partnerships

Third, we must extend our partnerships and build a more effective security network that fosters stability around the world.

To do this NATO must become not just an organisation that has capability but an exporter of capability. I hope we can agree to use our expertise to provide training and mentoring of forces in Jordan and Georgia. And also in Iraq when the new Government has been established.

These can be the first steps in a long-term commitment to help our friends and allies around the world. This commitment is vital for our own security. By standing up for our values around the world we keep our own people safe.

Published 5 September 2014
Last updated 5 September 2014 + show all updates
  1. Added video clip of speech.
  2. First published.