Officials from 22 NATO countries agree a €1bn innovation fund

NEWS 30.06.2022 12:38
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Jens Stoltenberg NATO
Source: REUTERS/Yves Herman

Leaders of NATO's member states on Thursday began their last working meeting within their summit in Madrid to discuss what they call the "southern neighborhood" and the fight against terrorism. In addition, 22 member countries signed a deal to form a €1bn innovation fund.

“The Middle East, North Africa, and the Sahel are being faced with intertwined security, demographic, economic and political challenges that have been aggravated by climate change and insecurities in the food supply chain due to the war in Ukraine,” state agency Hina quoted NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, as saying in Madrid on Thursday morning.

Hina did not clarify what decisions, if any, were made regarding NATO’s southern neighborhood.

In addition, a letter of intent was signed to form a new Innovation Fund of the alliance, billed as “the world’s first multi-sovereign venture capital fund.” The signing ceremony was hosted by Stoltenberg, where he was joined by leaders and ministers from 22 out of 30 NATO countries.

Those 22 countries are Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

“Croatia is not among them,” state agency Hina noted, without explaining why.

Stoltenberg said that “with a 15-year time-frame, the NATO Innovation Fund will help bring to life those nascent technologies that have the power to transform our security in the decades to come, strengthening the Alliance’s innovation ecosystem and bolstering the security of our 1 billion citizens.”

The Fund pledges to invest €1bn in early-stage startups and other venture capital funds which work on developing dual-use emerging technologies designated as a priority to NATO. These include things like artificial intelligence, data processing, quantum technologies, biotechnology and human enhancement, new materials, and innovations in the fields of energy, propulsion, and space.

“We need to maintain our technological drive now that China and Russia are competing in this key area,” Italian news agency ANSA quoted Stoltenberg as saying.