Since its creation in 1955, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly has provided a unique specialised forum for members of parliament from across the Atlantic Alliance to discuss and influence decisions on Alliance security. Through its work and activities, the Assembly facilitates parliamentary awareness and understanding of the key issues affecting the security of the Euro-Atlantic area, and supports national parliamentary oversight over defence and security. Crucially, it helps to strengthen the transatlantic relationship and the values which underpin the Alliance. The Assembly is institutionally separate from NATO, but serves as an essential link between NATO and the parliaments of the NATO nations. It provides greater transparency of NATO policies, and fosters better understanding of the Alliance’s objectives and missions among legislators and citizens of the Alliance.
Since the end of the Cold War, the Assembly has assumed a new role by integrating into its work parliamentarians from countries seeking a closer association with NATO. Through this form of parliamentary diplomacy, the Assembly contributes to mutual understanding and to the strengthening of parliamentary democracy throughout the Euro-Atlantic region and beyond, thereby complementing and reinforcing NATO’s own programme of partnership and co-operation.