NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Friday the 28 member states of the alliance aim to move towards the NATO guideline of spending two percent of their respective Gross Domestic Product on defence to meet NATO capability priorities.
"In the past 24 hours, we have taken historic decisions which will keep our Alliance strong in an uncertain world," he said.
He made the comments at a joint press conference with "the man who will lead the Alliance towards that future, Jens Stoltenberg," the former prime minister of Norway, following the second meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Heads of State and Government during the NATO Wales Summit "We have adopted a Readiness Action Plan. We have agreed ways to improve our military capabilities. And we have improved our cooperation with partners.
"But when it comes to security, you get what you pay for, and it doesn't come on the cheap," the NATO chief pointed out.
"Twenty four years ago, NATO leaders met in London. Their vision was a Europe whole, free and at peace. And over the last quarter of a century, we have worked hard to make that vision a reality. But now it is in danger.
"Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and its continued aggressive actions elsewhere in Ukraine, as well as the spread of violence and extremism in North Africa and the Middle East affect security to NATO's east and south.
"In this dangerous world, we recognize that we need to invest additional effort and money. So today the Alliance made a pledge on defence investment.
"We agree to reverse the trend of declining defence budgets. And raise them over the coming decade.
"We will direct our defence budgets as efficiently and effectively as possible. We will review our progress every year. And it will remain on the agenda of future NATO summits and meetings of defence ministers.
"This is no easy task. And there is much work to do. But the direction of travel is clear. And the security of our countries and citizens is too important for us to cut corners, or to cut still more funds. And without security, we can have no prosperity," he stressed.
"Today's decision will further strengthen the transatlantic bond. Enhance the security of all Allies. And ensure a more fair and balanced sharing of costs and responsibilities. Within Europe and across the Atlantic.
"Now, while this is not the end of my mandate, this is my final summit as Secretary General, after five years in this post. These have been some of the busiest and most challenging years in the history of our Alliance.
"We have brought our longest mission in Afghanistan close to completion. And prepared the next chapter in our engagement.
"We have launched new missions. With new partners. And developed new capabilities. We have cut fat and built muscle.
"We adopted a new Strategic Concept that created the framework for the new NATO. Developed Smart Defence as a tool to develop new capabilities and make more efficient use of our resources.
"We developed a Connected Forces Initiative as a tool to improve our ability to work and cooperate together as Allies and with our Partners.
"We have enhanced our Partnerships. And it has made NATO a hub of a network of international security partnerships. And now we have also adopted a Readiness Action Plan that will improve our ability to act swiftly if needed.
"Together, we have shaped the NATO of tomorrow - a renewed Alliance, for a new era. An Alliance that is ready, robust and resolute. And I am proud to have led NATO through this pivotal time," he added.
The summit is expected to issue later today the Wales Declaration on the Transatlantic Bond, to sum up the decisions of the two-day gathering of the 60 leaders representing the 28 Allies and NATO's partner countries.