NATO chief urges more self-sufficiency in medical stocks
Brussels: NATO countries need to learn lessons from the coronavirus crisis by looking at boosting national stocks of medical equipment to avoid over-reliance on outside suppliers, the alliance’s chief said Tuesday.
“We have to look into the issues of the supply of medical equipment and protective suits, medicines and all that kind of stuff. And also ask questions like: are we too dependent on production coming from outside?” Jens Stoltenberg said in a videolink media conference.
“National resilience in NATO’s responsibility,” he said. “All of these issues — resilience, national resilience including ensuring we have the necessary medical equipment — will be part of the lesson-learning process after this crisis.”
Stoltenberg spoke a day before NATO defence ministers were to hold a videoconference focused on the consequences of the pandemic.
He said the talks would aim to boost support between member states, particularly by identifying spare capacity in supplies and in military transport to get medical gear to where it was needed.
He also touched upon the likely impact the coronavirus crisis would have on defence spending among the alliance’s member states whose economies were projected to shrink, but said it was “too soon” to tally the fallout.
In any case, he insisted, the challenges NATO faced before the crisis had not gone away and still needed to confronted.
“There is still a terrorist threat out there. There are threats in cyberspace. And we see the global power shift with the rise of China, and we see a more assertive Russia.”