The Assembly was created independently from NATO and is institutionally separate from the NATO structure. Nevertheless, the Assembly serves as an essential link between NATO and the parliaments of the NATO nations. On this basis, the Assembly has progressively developed an active and wide-ranging cooperation with NATO's political and military authorities.
Thus, its leading decision-making body, the Standing Committee, meets annually with the Secretary General and the Permanent Representatives to the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at NATO headquarters to exchange views on the state of the Alliance and to give legislators an opportunity to share their perspectives directly with members of the NAC.
The NATO Secretary General addresses members of the Assembly at the Spring and Autumn Sessions as well as at other events throughout the year; he also provides a written response to the policy recommendations passed by the Assembly at its Autumn Session.
The Assembly’s Presidents in turn address Summit meetings of NATO Heads of State and Government to present the Assembly’s view on the key issues on the Alliance’s agenda.
Cooperation with partners is the most visible expression of the synergy between NATO and the Assembly’s work. The Assembly’s partnership activities strengthen and complement at the parliamentary level NATO’s own partnerships. In particular, the Assembly has developed dedicated frameworks for relations with Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, as well as parliaments in North Africa and the Middle East, which mirror NATO’s own partnerships with these countries and regions.
Throughout any given year, the Assembly organises several joint activities with NATO, such as seminars and training programmes for parliamentarians or parliamentary staff. The staff of the NATO PA Secretariat in Brussels enjoys strong and productive relations with their counterparts at NATO.
The Assembly’s relations with NATO are based on mutual recognition that Alliance policies need to rely on broad national consensus in member countries, and that parliaments are key players in this regard, and essential channels to citizens. Through this positive partnership, NATO and the Assembly also demonstrate that NATO is an Alliance based on shared values, and which aims to strengthen democratic institutions, as stated in article 2 of the Washington Treaty, according to which “[t]he Parties will contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well-being. They will seek to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and will encourage economic collaboration between any or all of them.”
Assemblée parlementaire de l'OTAN