HS interview NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wants Western countries to be more cautious in their economic relations with authoritarian countries

HS interviewed Stoltenberg in Brussels. He says that he is still committed to Finland and Sweden becoming members quickly, but recalls that Turkey is an important member of NATO.


Russia use energy as a weapon, and the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg according to the west, there is a lesson to be learned from this. A similar dependence on authoritarian or authoritarian land must no longer be allowed to arise, neither in energy, nor in raw materials, nor in technology.

“I have been a strong supporter of free trade and globalization because it has meant progress and prosperity. But at the same time, it must be understood that economic decisions have security policy implications and must be taken into account in decision-making, especially when dealing with authoritarian countries, ”says Stoltenberg.

HS interviewed Stoltenberg at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday along with eleven other European media outlets.

“I guess it is already obvious that the current dependence on Russian natural gas is not good. And there is no over-reliance on other raw materials from authoritarian countries. ”

Also in technology, Western countries should be more cautious, according to Stoltenberg. Scientific cooperation for peaceful and civilian purposes may share critical information about, for example, artificial intelligence and quantum computers, and provide the other party with military tools to threaten Western countries.

“The new weapon systems are, for example, drones with artificial intelligence, systems based on facial recognition and autonomous systems. They are dangerous. ”

In addition to raw materials and technology, Stoltenberg is concerned that authoritarian countries will get a grip on critical infrastructure. For example, China has understood the importance of telephone networks, ports and airports in investing in Africa and other countries and in putting forces into the development of 5G mobile phone technology.

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“We also need to have economic relations with authoritarian countries, but we need to consider security. Freedom is more important than free trade, and defending values ​​is more important than making a profit. We have to be careful how far we go. ”

Stoltenberg’s speech is much the same as what is heard in the EU context. The term of the day is strategic autonomy, ie how to be independent of other actors in, for example, defense and the economy.

“My goal is still a fast process, it’s not too late yet.”

NATO live historic moments: after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Defense Alliance has once again found its purpose, and cooperation between Europe and the United States is going well. Two new members, Finland and Sweden, have applied for membership.

At the end of June, the Madrid Summit will renew NATO’s post-war strategic concept. In an earlier paper from 2010, Russia is still considered a strategic partner, China is not mentioned at all, and climate change is only briefly ignored.

Finland and Sweden submitted their NATO applications last week, but the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opposes the admission of countries to NATO. The Finnish and Swedish delegations were in Ankara on Wednesday to discuss whether a closed node could be opened.

“I have talked to the political leadership in Finland and Sweden and have been in close contact with Turkey and other NATO countries. My goal is still a fast process, it’s not too late yet, ”says Stoltenberg.

Read more: Representatives of Finland, Sweden and Turkey negotiate NATO dispute – Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Dialogue agreed to continue”

Read more: Turkey’s opposition tore open the timetable for Finland’s progress towards NATO membership: this is what it is about

However, Stoltenberg underlines that Turkey is an important member of NATO whose security concerns are taken seriously.

“Turkey is involved in the NATO operation in Iraq to ensure that Isis does not return to power. The operation is highly dependent on the use of infrastructure in Turkey. “

According to Stoltenberg, Turkey has suffered a lot from terrorism – the secretary-general has just sent his condolences to the Turkish government after hearing on Wednesday that five Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack by PKK militants in northern Iraq.

According to Stoltenberg, his duty as Secretary General is to identify members’ security concerns and to try to address them in a way that succeeds in NATO’s most important task, which is to protect and defend member countries. At the same time, the alliance must be able to invite Finland and Sweden as members, expand and continue its open door policy.

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According to Stoltenberg, NATO enlargements in the past have had concerns in the old member states that have finally been resolved.

“We need to be prepared for this to continue for a long time.”

Russian the attack on Ukraine three months ago did not come as a surprise, Stoltenberg says.

“No military operation has ever been known as well in advance. As early as the fall, we shared intelligence that predicted what would happen. ”

NATO has two roles in the war, he said: to provide support to Ukraine and prevent the war from spreading. Substantial quantities of modern weapons complying with NATO standards have been exported to Ukraine, in addition to which Ukrainians have been provided with training in their use.

“We need to be prepared for this to continue for a long time. There is also a great need for ammunition, fuel and spare parts. ”

According to Stoltenberg, NATO has an obligation to ensure that the war does not escalate between NATO and Russia.

The Defense Alliance has strengthened its presence in Eastern Europe, which now has a force of 40,000 troops under the direct command of NATO, reinforced by air and naval forces. Stoltenberg believes NATO’s presence in the region will grow following the decisions of the Madrid Summit.

“NATO is adapting to the changing world.”

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