The world is getting increasingly unpredictable and the best response to it is stronger international institutions such as NATO, the EU and the UN. They reduce the uncertainties and help to cope with surprises and crisis, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told N1.
“The best answer to a more uncertain world is to strengthen our international cooperation,” Stoltenberg said, adding that he supports “efforts to modernise and adapt” international institutions or otherwise “they will not serve the purpose” and will not be functional.
Stoltenberg took part in the conference in Davos where world leaders spoke about the world order being under attack and about the need for international organisations to be reformed.
“I’m a strong believer in international institutions but that’s also why I strongly support efforts to modernise and adapt them,” he said. “We have implemented the biggest adaptation in NATO since the end of the Cold War. We’ve increased the readiness of our forces, reformed out command structure, and we have also deployed forces on the eastern part of the alliance for the first time in our history.”
Stoltenberg commented on today’s security situation in the Balkans and said that was a “mixed picture,” as some problems are becoming more serious while progress can be seen regarding other issues, the Secretary-General added.
The Balkans is affected by the return of foreign ISIS fighters but the Stoltenberg would not offer any figures. However, countries are sharing intelligence data and are cooperating on the issue, he added.
From the NATO point of view, Montenegro becoming last year the alliance’s 29th member was “a great achievement” and Macedonia is removing obstacles on its path toward membership.
Serbia, on the other hand, has opted for neutrality but it closely cooperates with NATO.
“We respect the neutrality of Serbia. Serbia is a partner,” Stoltenberg said, adding that NATO conducted the biggest civil preparedness exercise ever in Serbia.“
Serbia is not aspiring for NATO membership, and we totally respect that,” he said, explaining that sovereign nations themselves make such decisions and that he would not like to see Serbia within NATO because the alliance should consist of members “who actually want to be members.”
“But, as we respect the neutrality and the decisions of Serbia, of course, Russia should also respect for instance the decisions of Skopje and of Montenegro to become members,” Stoltenberg said.
Bosnia is also a close partner of NATO and “we have decided now to take one step further in our partnership by saying that we accept the submission of their annual national plans for reforms.”
NATO will continue cooperating with Bosnia and help its modernisation, particularly its efforts in fighting corruption.
“It is important to be present in Bosnia because NATO has a history in this part of Europe,” Stoltenberg said. “We helped end the war in Bosnia.”