NATO air forces across Europe scrambled more than 400 times in 2020 to intercept unknown aircraft approaching Alliance airspace. Almost 90 percent of these missions - around 350 - were in response to flights by Russian military aircraft. This is a moderate increase from 2019. Russian military aircraft often do not transmit a transponder code indicating their position and altitude, do not file a flight plan, or do not communicate with air traffic controllers, posing a potential risk to civilian airliners.
Throughout 2020, NATO and Allied military personnel have been helping save lives by supporting civilian efforts against COVID-19, both in Allied and partner countries. In the first half of this year, some 350 flights delivered critical supplies around the world. Across the Alliance, almost half a million troops supported the civilian response, constructing almost 100 field hospitals, securing borders and helping with testing and transport.
Three Christmas trees are bringing holiday cheer to NATO Headquarters this year. In line with the COVID-19 response measures in force, most end-of-the-year celebrations at NATO have been cancelled, while others, such as the annual NATO Charity Bazaar, have been moved online. Still, the Christmas tree tradition has endured.
Hello and warm greetings.
NATO Allies have agreed the civil and military budgets for 2021. At a meeting of the North Atlantic Council on Wednesday (16 December 2020), Allies agreed a civil budget of €258.9 million and a military budget of €1.61 billion for 2021. All member countries contribute to these budgets, according to an agreed cost-sharing formula based on Gross National Income.
NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană gave ambassadors in the North Atlantic Council a jar of NATO-made honey each on Wednesday (16 December 2020), a pre-holiday gift for the end-of-year Council meeting.
Lieutenant General Nicola Zanelli from Italy becomes the new Deputy Commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan
Today (16 December 2020), Lieutenant General Nicola Zanelli of the Italian Army assumed the position of Deputy Commander of the NATO-led mission Resolute Support, which trains, advises and assists the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces. He took over from Lieutenant General Giles Hill of the British Army.
NATO Secretary General discusses security in the Western Balkans with the Montenegrin Prime Minister
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Montenegrin Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapić to NATO Headquarters on Tuesday (15 December 2020). He thanked Montenegro for its commitment to security and stability in the Western Balkans and its contributions to NATO missions and operations. The two leaders discussed Alliance solidarity in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, current security challenges, and how NATO 2030 will further strengthen the Alliance.
North Atlantic Council Statement as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Enters Into Force
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had discussions at the European Commission on Tuesday (15 December 2020) about how to further strengthen NATO’s cooperation with the European Union. While the Secretary General often meets with EU leaders and EU Commissioners, this is the first time that a NATO Secretary General attended a meeting of the College of Commissioners, a sign of the deepening partnership between NATO and the EU.
Addressing a virtual audience at an event organised by the Atlantic Council on Friday (11 December), NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană emphasised values and adaptation as key for future success of the Alliance.
Between November and early December 2020, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has operated several chartered flights from NATO Allies and partners to Afghanistan, transporting hundreds of tons of pharmaceutical supplies to the Afghan national army and police. These consisted of pain relievers, vitamins, antibiotic pills and ointments, polio vaccine, hand sanitizer, IV fluids and other critical medicines. All of these supplies will help Afghan forces improve their standard of care and reduce the risk of harm and infection to service personnel. Additional flights are scheduled to be operated through the end of the year.
The NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg will meet the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Mr. Zdravko Krivokapić, on Tuesday, 15 December 2020, at NATO Headquarters.
Speaking at a webinar hosted by the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday (10 December), NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană emphasised the role of the private sector in strengthening the resilience of the Alliance. He also underlined that NATO is working closely with the EU, civil society and academia to boost the resilience of our societies in the face of complex challenges.
NATO Secretary General discusses strengthening transatlantic relations with Portuguese Prime Minister
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa to NATO Headquarters on Thursday (10 December 2020). He thanked Portugal for its commitment to strengthening transatlantic relations and concrete contributions to NATO missions and activities. The two leaders discussed the fight against terrorism, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, NATO-EU cooperation and next year’s NATO Summit.
NATO Operation Sea Guardian has finished its last focused security patrol for 2020 today (10 December). As part of this activity (known as a focused operation), which started on 24 November, NATO maritime assets have been helping provide an accurate maritime picture to NATO commanders, enforcing counter-terrorism measures, and working with partners.
On Tuesday (15 December 2020), the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg will visit the European Commission in Brussels, for a discussion with the members of the College of Commissioners.
The NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, will meet the Prime Minister of Portugal, Mr. Antonio Costa, on Thursday, 10 December 2020 at NATO Headquarters.
On Friday, 11 December 2020, the NATO Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Mircea Geoană will take part in an Atlantic Council event, to discuss bold ideas for NATO’s future. This is part of a NATO-sponsored project to reach out to new audiences in the United States and engage them on the NATO story.
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