“We can’t let the Corona crisis affect our security,” Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen said after a meeting of NATO defense ministers on Wednesday. He claimed they were “standing together,” maintaining operational capability and preparedeness, and “helping each other where we can.”
The meeting, which had to be held via videoconferencing, was held in what Bakke-Jensen called “a serious and extraordinary situation.” He told news bureau NTB that he’s concerned by what he called “power rivalry, nationalism, and that people are thinking more about just their own countries,” but stressed that “we face the same challenges and it’s useful to share experience among the countries.”
That was the primary aim of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who noted how the video gathering followed up a similar meeting of NATO’s foreign ministers two weeks ago. The alliance’s members will continue to help one another with competence and equipment, he said, with NATO itself organizing logistics and air transport.
Military aid is also being given to civilian operations in the form of mobile military hospitals, hospital ships, patient transport and disinfecting public areas and border areas. Norway, for example, sent a mobile hospital unit to new NATO member North Macedonia, while Norway has received deliveries of protective surgical gear from NATO’s own supplies.