Slovenia: If NATO does not expand, someone else will, says Janša

Slovenia: If NATO does not expand, someone else will, says Janša

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša attended a NATO Summit in Brussels that focused on the NATO 2030 process – a forward-looking agenda centred on adapting NATO to meet new challenges.

These challenges include relations with Russia, terrorism, cyber-attacks and breakthrough technologies, the rise of China and the security implications of climate change. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Matej Tonin also attended the summit.

In a statement to the media Janša said that this year Slovenia is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its independence, which is something he feels would not have been possible without NATO’s victory in the Cold War. “Slovenia joined NATO because of shared fundamental values.”

These are, according to the Prime Minister, the core of the North Atlantic Alliance and should be borne in mind in the talks about its future.  In the Prime Minister’s opinion, another important factor for the future of the Alliance is expansion. “If NATO does not expand, someone else will, and that will not contribute to global peace and stability.” Talking about expansion means inviting all the democratic countries in the “neighbourhood” that would like to join the Alliance. The expansion also means inviting other partners, i.e. free and democratic countries that share fundamental values and wish to cooperate more closely with the Alliance.

Prime Minister Janša went on to emphasise that in order to achieve the fundamental objectives, we must support every joint effort aimed at ensuring the technological edge of the NATO countries, particularly in the field of military technology. “We must be at least one generation ahead.” According to the Prime Minister, this is the only way we will be strong enough to reach the main goal – world peace.

He also stressed that the world and threats have changed over the last decades and that China is a key challenge for NATO. “If we do not want the world to face a fatal new arms race or even a hot conflict in the coming decades, NATO must be aware of this and stay strong.” This is the only way for NATO to be a partner that is taken seriously in the talks and is able to reach agreements that will maintain world peace. In addition, he highlighted that in past Slovenia did not stand out in terms of financial contribution to the common budget, but that the trend has changed over the term of the present Government. The reason for this lies mainly in the act on long-term investments in the Slovenian Armed Forces; on the basis of these investments, Slovenia will significantly increase its defence capacities and become able to cooperate seriously with NATO partners. “We realise that the Alliance is something that works in both directions. If we expect others to increase their defence budgets, so that they can guarantee our security, then we too must do our part. In 2030, Slovenia will be a NATO member that can proudly say, ‘we are pleased that you safeguard our security, but we too can contribute to the same degree to our common security,” said the Prime Minister, concluding his statement to the media.

On the margins of the NATO Summit, Janša first met with Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir to discuss the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU and EU-Iceland relations. The following meeting was with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and was also primarily focused on presenting the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The talks also touched on EU-Norway relations.