Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Vilnius on Monday (10 July 2023) and discussed final preparations for the NATO Summit with President Gitanas Nausėda.
The Secretary General said that when Allies meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, they will take further major steps to strengthen deterrence and defence. This includes three new regional plans, backed by 300,000 troops on high readiness, and major capabilities across all domains. “This sends a clear message that we will defend every inch of Lithuania, and every inch of Allied territory,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
Mr Stoltenberg also said that Allies will take decisions on Ukraine, including a multi-year package of assistance, and upgraded political ties with a new NATO-Ukraine Council. He added that Allies will also address Ukraine’s path towards NATO membership.
To continue supporting Ukraine and strengthening deterrence and defence, Allies will set a more ambitious defence investment pledge, building on nine consecutive years of defence spending across European Allies and Canada. This includes a rise of 8.3% in real terms this year, the biggest increase in decades.
Allies will also meet with close partners in Vilnius, including the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea. “This will be Finland’s first Summit as a NATO Ally, and we look forward to Sweden joining as soon as possible. I will meet with President Erdogan and Prime Minister Kristersson later today as the next step in this process,” said Mr Stoltenberg.