Remarks from the Prime Minister’s press conference at the NATO Summit: 30 June 2022
This NATO summit was very successful and historic, during which we once again exceeded expectations in terms of the unity and determination with which this alliance confronts Putin’s illegal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine. .
After 127 days of war, we in NATO are more convinced than ever that Europe’s borders cannot be changed by force and that we must give Ukrainians the means to protect themselves. And we are.
Over the past few days, virtually everyone around the table has agreed to give more to help.
And at the same time, we must recognize the impacts that this brutal invasion is having around the world. In Africa, in Latin America, in Asia, there is not a country that is not affected today by soaring energy prices and the shortage of food and fertilizers.
And so, just like us in the UK, we are focused on helping people next month, in July to the 8 million households with £1200 with more help coming, £400 for each family to help with cost of living and energy. Likewise, Commonwealth, G7 and NATO governments are committed to working together to ease the pressure around the world, whether it’s getting grain out of Ukraine or encouraging measures to increase the world’s energy supply or help countries find alternative sources of fertilizer
And we must frankly recognize that not all countries have the same view of Putin’s invasion or see it in the same way as we do. And so we agreed that we need to bust some myths.
We need to explode the myth that Western sanctions are somehow responsible for these price spikes when it was of course the Russian invasion that caused the food shortages and Putin’s blockade that keeps the grain from leaving Ukrainian ports.
We need to explode the myth that NATO was somehow responsible for causing the conflict. Nothing could be further from the truth. And if you want proof that this is a purely defensive alliance, you can’t get a better testimony than the joining of Finland and Sweden, peace-loving countries that have been neutral for decades.
The fact that these two paladins of peace joined NATO tells you everything you need to know about NATO and everything you need to know about Putin.
We have to show the countries of the South that we are the partners they need and that we, the NATO countries, are there to help them in their transition to a green future and that they must beware of the trap of racking up huge debts for other countries that do not share our values and perhaps do not have their interests at heart.
And the last myth that we need to debunk is that when it comes to a crisis like this, Western democracies, because of the pressures that politicians face, don’t have the same power of resistance.
And I think that if Ukraine were to be crushed or forced into a bad peace, the consequences for freedom in the world would be appalling.
And that view is shared by everyone in NATO, so let’s be absolutely clear, the best way for us to win the debate around the world about our values, what we stand for, about our opposition to use of force to change borders, on international law. The best way to win this argument is for the Ukrainians to win and Putin to fail in Ukraine.
That’s why I’m glad we’ve announced another £1 billion in military support today. And if you wanted proof of the Ukrainians’ amazing ability to fight back, to overcome adversity to fend off the Russians, then watch what happened today on Snake Island where Russia had to give ground.
In the end, it will prove impossible for Putin to maintain a country that will not accept his rule.
This summit was crucial in that we are resolved not only to support Ukraine, but we have agreed on a new strategic concept, we are going beyond the doctrine of wired deterrence on the eastern flank of the NATO towards a new approach to defense deterrence through denial. And the countries around the table also recognize that they need to spend more.
And in our case, that means meeting and being prepared to exceed the target we set ourselves ten years ago of everyone spending 2% of our GDP on defense, targets that were then set for a very different time. What we are saying is that we want Jens Stoltenberg, the general secretary, to start working on this new objective now and he has agreed to do so.
We must invest for the long term, in vital capabilities like the combat air of the future, while adapting to a more dangerous and competitive world. The logical conclusion of the investments that we propose to undertake, of these decisions, is 2.5% of GDP on Defense by the end of the decade.
I want to say a big thank you to our Spanish hosts, and I think they’ve done an incredible job and thanks to Jens Stoltenberg, and to say at the end of this summit in Madrid – the NATO alliance is clearly in good healthy and growing stronger, with new members and renewed purpose.
We can see that our work is hard and we can see that there are billions of people in the world, undecided voters, who need to hear and understand our arguments, but we have a huge advantage in knowing what what we want, to believe in our ideas and having the means to do what we want to do, and above all we are united and, if history is any guide, then I believe that this great alliance will once again be crowned with success.
Thanks a lot.