President Karis: Future generations must also have the opportunity to shelter under NATO’s umbrella when needed

  • 2024-03-29

Joining NATO, as well as the European Union, lifted the isolation that Central and Eastern European countries had to endure after World War II. It brought us back to where we belong: a Europe that upholds rules based on international law.

Once we had taken our country back, we knew from the very beginning that neutrality would never be our strength, but rather a temptation for the enemy. The same is true in today’s Europe, where grey zones of neutrality are a threat, not an opportunity to protect our independence.

In 20 years, NATO’s umbrella has become self-evident for us. Yet this cannot be reduced to convenience and then to indifference.

Russia's war of conquest in Ukraine was the final warning – not for us, who had known of this possibility all along, but for many of our allies. Now we all understand that we need NATO to be a strong military organisation, defending every millimetre of its territory and ready to protect the whole of democratic Europe. With the same ingenuity and enthusiasm that we once pursued NATO membership, we are now working together to strengthen the Alliance militarily, so that future generations could also shelter under NATO’s umbrella when needed.

NATO's umbrella is strong and sturdy, but it requires constant care to ensure that the fabric of the panels remains untorn and the springs do not tire.