Eliminating the Cold War Division of Europe

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21 Nov. 2002 Speech by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark at the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council

Today is truly a historic moment. Today we leave the remains of the cold war division of Europe behind us. But we also make an investment in the future security and integration of the Euro- Atlantic area. I wish to warmly welcome our coming new members. It is truly remarkable that three of the invited countries, namely the three Baltic countries, were republics in the former Soviet Union. History has changed. And so indeed has the agenda of NATO. Let me stress:

Our enlargement is not directed against Russia. It is an effort to heal and integrate Europe. We all have an interest in this process. Russia will also benefit. In three weeks, many of us will gather again in Copenhagen for an EU Summit. We aim at concluding negotiations with up to ten candidate countries, enabling them to join the European Union. Prague and Copenhagen will indeed be of unprecedented historical importance for European integration, for freedom, peace and prosperity on our continent.

We all want NATO to remain our core security provider. That is why we are here. We need to adapt our Alliance to the new security environment. We need military capabilities that enable us to defend against threats and challenges whenever and wherever needed. In todays globalised world those who intend to do us harm are no longer discouraged by geography or by traditional deterrence. Terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and missiles are the new threats. We have to guard against that.

NATO is the core of transatlantic relations. In a world where attacks on our societies can come out of the blue, the Alliance must provide credible security to both Europe and North America. The cohesion of NATO is a reflection of our will to act. We must meet the challenge of providing credible military capabilities for any given operation. …