Defence Minister attends the NATO Defence Ministers Meeting
June 29, 2017 – Brussels, Belgium – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
The Government of Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to NATO and the Alliance’s important role in international security and defence.
Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan, meeting with NATO colleagues in Brussels, reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to work alongside our Allies and partners to build long-term security at home and abroad.
Today’s meeting was the first occasion for Defence Ministers to meet since the recent NATO Leaders’ Meeting on May 25. Building on those discussions, Minister Sajjan took the opportunity to emphasize Canada’s significant contributions to international peace and security efforts, both through NATO and in partnership with key Allies and partners. In particular, he underlined Canada’s leadership role of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup in Latvia. A ceremony marking the official inauguration of the battlegroup took place on June 19 in Latvia with the Minister and General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, in attendance.
During the two-day visit in Brussels, Minister Sajjan discussed Canada’s new defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, with Allies. The Minister highlighted how the new defence policy further emphasizes Canada’s unwavering support and contributions to NATO.
Minister Sajjan held bilateral meetings on the margins of NATO with defence ministers from Norway, Italy, the Netherlands, and Ukraine.
During the Defence Minister’s Meeting, the Minister also met with the countries contributing to the Canada-led eFP battlegroup in Latvia, as well as eFP Host Nations and Framework Nations, and several partner nations also providing assistance to Ukraine.
“As a NATO enhanced Forward Presence Framework Nation, Canada has taken a leadership role within the Alliance. Through our new Defence Policy Strong, Secure, Engaged, we will continue to maintain our strong commitment to NATO as we work towards global peace, stability, and security. As a founding member of the Alliance, we are committed to transatlantic unity and value the unique bond between North America and Europe, based on democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law. This bond was further solidified on June 5, when Montenegro became the 29th member nation to join the Alliance. Montenegro is a welcome addition and will be a valuable contributor to international peace.”
Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister
NATO is a cornerstone of Canada’s defence and security policy. Canada remains committed to providing credible, value-added contributions to NATO operations and to strengthening the Alliance in the face of today’s complex security environment.
At the July 2016 Warsaw Summit, NATO Allies decided to further strengthen the Alliance posture in order to deter possible aggression against NATO members. The most visible element of this strengthened deterrence and defence posture is the establishment of the eFP in Central and Eastern Europe.
Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland are the four host nations for NATO eFP battlegroups. Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States are the framework nations leading battlegroups.
Operation REASSURANCE is the Canadian Armed Forces’ support to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe. As part of Operation REASSURANCE, Canada has established its largest sustained military presence in Europe in over a decade by leading a multinational battlegroup in Latvia.
Canada has provided a broad range of assistance (development, financial, humanitarian, non-lethal military) to Ukraine, totaling more than $700 million since January 2014. Through Operation UNIFIER, the Canadian Armed Forces provides military training and capacity-building assistance to Ukrainian Forces personnel in support of Ukraine’s efforts to maintain sovereignty, security, and stability.
Canada’s new defence policy makes significant investments in the Canadian Armed Forces. Total defence spending over the next 20 years will be $553 billion. Canada will increase defence spending from $18.9 billion in 2016-17 to $32.7 billion by 2026-27.
Strong, Secure, Engaged affirms Canada’s unwavering commitment to NATO, NORAD, and Five Eyes partners.
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Department of National Defence
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