New NATO HQ: speech

Your Majesty,
Dear Secretary-General,
Dear colleagues,
Men and women of the armed forces,


Belgium welcomes you at this beautiful site,
at the heart of our country.

A new home that confirms resolve and determination.

Because we know that action and symbols are important in today’s world.

Now more than ever, after the loss of so many lives in Manchester.

We need to stay ahead of a threat that kills a girl of eight years old at a concert hall.

Our presence today expresses unity in times of uncertainty.
After the attack in the United Kingdom we are all wounded deeply …

But we see strong commitment.

Not only in words but also in deeds.

We all agree that we must continue to change, in order to keep our people safe.

Our citizens need security. Security first.

But we can only succeed if we work together.

Today 29 leaders of the free world reaffirm their wish to strive for peace and stability.

And it is our responsibility to uphold this promise.

A stronger European Union makes NATO stronger.
And a stronger NATO makes the US and Canada, safer too.

We are all in this together.

Security today requires much more than the traditional military tools.

Civilian and military operations go hand in hand.

So we need both soft and hard power. 
Just as the US stood with Europe once, Europe stood with the US.

The only time that NATO invoked the collective defense clause (Article 5) was after nine/eleven.

This was more than just a symbol.

Thousands of NATO soldiers have served in Afghanistan. And many men and women have paid the ultimate price.

Today we will address transatlantic solidarity and the fight against terrorism.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our alliance has been solid for almost seventy years.
And these new headquarters are the symbol we need.

Because I believe NATO can and will continue to make a difference.

This is not some naive wish but the reality we all live in.

By opening this new site we renew our pledge.

And Belgium is very proud of this great new home.

The building is designed to resemble interlocking fingers.
Another symbol of our common goals since World War II.

When we started building, we found explosives buried deep into the soil.

This site was bombed seven decades ago by English and German troops.

Now it stands for common goals and cooperation.

Congratulations to all who made these headquarters possible.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let’s show people around the world that by joining hands we provide safety and freedom.

We believe in this.

Because the values of NATO, our common values, are not obsolete!

Freedom, peace, security, human rights, democracy, the rule of law will always prevail.

This is at the heart of our mission.

A special word of thanks to the men and women of the armed forces who put their lives at risk.

For a higher cause.

Your bravery and courage is an example to us all.

On behalf of you it is my privilege to hand over these headquarters to NATO.

May this home be a home to us all.

Thank you.