A signal of unity and solidarity

  • Federal Chancellor
  • Olaf Scholz

  • News

  • Chancellery

  • Service

NATO Summit in Vilnius A signal of unity and solidarity

The summit in Vilnius on 11 and 12 July 2023 has strengthened NATO. Three things have made this summit very special. Firstly, Finland has joined the alliance. Secondly, Sweden is now assured of a place, and thirdly, the NATO allies have taken the decision to realign the defence alliance.

Federal Chancellor Scholz at the press conference at the NATO Summit

“These are challenging times. Safety and security in Europe are under pressure,” said the Federal Chancellor at the concluding press conference.

Photo: Federal Government/Denzel

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave a positive assessment of the NATO Summit in Vilnius, noting how the summit had strengthened NATO, reaffirmed the readiness to defend the alliance, and promoted cohesion between its members. 

The Federal Chancellor again drew attention to NATO’s defensive posture: “NATO is a defence alliance that does not threaten anybody,” he said. “However, it is ready and able to counter any military threat.” 

Progress through Finland's and Sweden's membership

The Vilnius summit was the first one attended by Finland as a new member of the alliance. The way is also now clear for Sweden to join NATO. Scholz welcomed this as a major step forward: “I’m sure that Finland and Sweden will strengthen the security of the alliance,” he said.

Russian war of aggression against Ukraine

Turning to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, which has now been ongoing for a year and a half, the Federal Chancellor said: “Last year we agreed a range of steps to adapt the defence and deterrence readiness of the alliance to the new security situation.”

For the Federal Chancellor it is clear that NATO partners must invest more money in the face of the growth in military challenges. “That’s why we agreed here in Vilnius that in future at least 2 percent of GDP will be invested for defence purposes,” he said. Through a special fund, Germany will achieve exactly that level next year.

Germany is also making a contribution to the alliance. From 2025 onwards, 35,000 members of the Federal Armed Forces will be active in the two military formations at the highest level of readiness. Germany will also station a robust brigade in Lithuania. “This promotes security for the allies, security in Europe and therefore the security of Germany,” Scholz explained. 

Support package for Ukraine worth almost 700 million euros

The NATO heads of state and government also held talks with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Scholz said it was right that so many states were helping Ukraine defend its own territory, and added that since the beginning of the war, Germany had expanded its support with great intensity, and would continue to do so. The Federal Chancellor announced a further package of military support for Ukraine at the summit. The package includes additional Patriot launcher systems, Leopard 1A5 tanks, Marder armoured fighting vehicles, and artillery munitions. The package is worth almost 700 million euros in total.

New NATO-Ukraine Council

NATO has agreed to start holding regular discussions through the new NATO-Ukraine Council. This institutional cooperation between NATO and Ukraine makes the solidarity with Ukraine very clear. President Zelensky of Ukraine took part in the first session of the Council, which was held in the context of the NATO summit. 

The G7 states also held discussions during the NATO summit. In a joint declaration they again reaffirmed their commitment to support Ukraine’s long-term security and economic prosperity through the European-Atlantic community. 

A new centre for the security of undersea infrastructure can now start work. Scholz welcomed NATO’s positive response to the German-Norwegian initiative, describing the centre as “enormously significant for the whole alliance”.  

In Vilnius the NATO allies also held discussions with partners from the top echelons of the EU – EU Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. They also held joint talks with partners from the Asia-Pacific region, specifically Australia, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.

What does NATO stand for? Which countries are members? And how does the Federal Government contribute to the alliance? You can find out more about NATO in our questions and answers: Defence alliance and community of shared values