The outgoing Secretary General of the NATO alliance, former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, addressed an overflow crowd at the Atlantic Council on Monday (July 7) to provide his observations about the many challenges facing NATO.
Rasmussen, who will end his five-year term as “SecGen” following the NATO summit that takes place in Wales in September, focused on a number of important topics, not the least of which was the need for many NATO members (and other European states) to diversify their fuel supplies and increase their energy security.
Highlights from Rasmussen’s speech:
Since World War Two, the solution to every strategic challenge has been transatlantic. Be it the Cold War, the Balkans, Afghanistan, or the financial crisis.
America and Europe working together. Trading together. And, when necessary, fighting together. This is how we have protected our nations and promoted our values.
But even the most successful relationship needs work. We cannot take our transatlantic bond for granted. We must renew our commitment. And continue to invest time, energy, and resources, to keep it strong.
To meet the challenges we face, we need a truly integrated transatlantic community. And I believe there are three things we must do. Reinforce our economic ties. Deepen our personal and cultural links. And strengthen our security.
In today’s interconnected world, the link between economics and security—and between peace and prosperity—is stronger than ever. And it is particularly strong in the relationship between Europe and North America. Together, we represent the most powerful economic block the world has ever known. But with greater global competition, we need to work harder to ensure our prosperity for the future.
A Transatlantic Free Trade Area is a unique opportunity to reinforce our economic ties. And to lock in our prosperity.
We also need a new focus on energy security. Much of Europe is now reliant on Russia’s oil and gas. We have, so to speak, burned our way into a position of dependence. And as we see in Ukraine, Russia is quite capable of turning off the taps. Putting an end to that dependency is now of the utmost strategic importance.
European nations are already doing more to reduce this dependency. They are increasing their storage reserves. Engineering pipelines to redirect energy to where it is needed. And bringing in energy from other sources.
We must also find new ways to generate, extract and distribute energy. Be that oil and gas, or renewables. And we need to open our markets to each other. Because if you have to depend on anyone, it is better to depend on your friends.
And those friendships must be fostered.
To read or view the whole speech: Click Here.