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2021-05-26 at 15h52

EU and NATO with increasingly important areas of convergence

The Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, Ministers Augusto Santos Silva and João Gomes Cravinho with NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, Lisbon, 26 May 2021 (photo: António Cotrim/Lusa)

The EU and the Atlantic Alliance have "increasingly important" areas of convergence "when we realise the diversity of the threats, as was seen this week with the unacceptable way in which Belarus intercepted a civilian aircraft from a European airline, which was travelling between two European capitals, with the main purpose of detaining an opponent of the regime" stated Prime Minister António Costa in a joint statement with NATO Secretary General NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.

The Prime Minister rated the plane’s interception and the arrest of the opponent of the regime as a "violation of democratic principles" and a "clear violation of civil aviation security". He added that "notwithstanding the constructive spirit and dialogue we hold with all our neighbours to build a climate of global peace, we cannot ignore that the threats exist and come in the most varied manners, from terrorism on our Southern border to these acts on our Eastern border".

António Costa noted that NATO Secretary General will "take part in the EU meeting of Defence Ministers, which is a contribution made by the Portuguese Presidency of the European Council to tightening EU-NATO relations", as despite the fact that that not all members of one are members of the other, these two organizations can "cooperate in a beneficial way", as there are "several very important areas of convergence." 

The NATO Secretary General’s visit to Lisbon "takes place a few days before a summit that will set a new momentum in transatlantic relations and at a time when NATO is reflecting on its 2020-2030 project, which we’ve been following, and with which we agree on, essentially, on the proposals put forward by the Secretary General", he remarked. 

In addition to the meeting with the Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg takes part in the State Council meeting, attends the formal opening of a NATO Cybersecurity Academy facility in Oeiras, takes part in a NATO exercise with 9 thousand men, and is at the European Union Council of Ministers of Defence.

The NATO Secretary General highlighted in his meeting with the Prime Minister (which the Minister of State and Foreign Affairs, Santos Silva, and the Minister of Defence, Gomes Cravinho also attended), where "the preparation for the upcoming summit next month, to prepare an alliance that is capable of facing a future with many different challenges" was debated, that countries cannot face this alone and added that "the Atlantic Alliance wants to strengthen their fight against terrorism and instability". 

NATO Communications and Information Academy

Following the meeting, the Prime Minister António Costa and NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, together with the Portuguese Minister of Defence, João Gomes Cravinho, visited the NATO Communications and Information Academy in Oeiras.

António Costa noted the "meaning for Portugal to host the NATO Communications and Information Academy", "a modern and advanced education and training structure that plays such an important role not just in the digital training of the entire NATO workforce, but also the digital transformation process" of the Atlantic Alliance’s structure.

He mentioned that "every day we witness how much demand for cybersecurity is increasing in the world" and highlighted that "directly or indirectly, the Academy contributes to the protection and resilience of critical infrastructures and many information systems that our modern societies are increasingly more vitally dependent on".

The Prime Minister stated that beyond its main mission of training NATO staff, "we share with the NATO Communications and Information Agency", which runs the Academy, "the vision that this Academy is a hub for innovation that can offer stimulating partnership opportunities", including with Portuguese higher education institutions and industry.

"Portugal is proud of being a founding member of NATO and a member who has always been there and taken part in many of its operations and missions", he said, adding that "Portugal’s commitment is clear, it has been permanent, and this year alone we are engaged in 10" of the organization’s operations.

António Costa concluded by stating that the Academy is to be "seen as another symbol of Portugal’s commitment to the values that have always upheld our Alliance over more than seven decades".