Sixty years after its creation, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly reaffirms the importance of unity and its values as pillars of the Atlantic Alliance
Paris, 18 July 2015 - At its special meeting in Paris on the occasion of its sixtieth anniversary, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly reaffirmed the unity of the Atlantic Alliance in the face of the challenges that the 28 Allied governments face today in their eastern and southern neighbourhoods.
The Alliance's lawmakers also stated that NATO draws its strength from the Allies' commitment to defend democratic values and principles in the Washington Treaty. They emphasised that these values should continue to guide action by NATO in a particularly difficult strategic environment.
At the opening session, Gérard Larcher, the President of the French Senate and the host of the meeting, made particular reference to the exceptional link that unites the Allies: "We must reaffirm unequivocally that the security of the Euro-Atlantic area remains our Alliance's priority. Inalienable solidarity binds us together, through Article 5 of the Treaty. It leaves no room for doubt: an armed attack against one of our countries shall be considered to be an attack against them all. This union is the origin of our strength, in facing the perils that threaten us and in deterring them!"
In his address, Michael Turner, the President of NATO PA, stressed how essential support by parliaments and by public opinion was to preserving this unity: "our Assembly has been and must continue to be a place where, through democratic debate, transparent discussions and exchanges of views, we forge common positions. We are the indispensable “engine room” of parliamentary and public support behind the NATO consensus. ".
The NATO PA's contribution to Alliance policies was hailed by all the high-level speakers associated with this exceptional celebration. In his message to the meeting Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO, paid homage to the founding fathers of the Assembly, noting that the creation of the NATO PA " marked a vital point in the development of our transatlantic community. The leaders of the Alliance understood the need to connect with the people they were trying to protect".
François Hollande, the President of the French Republic, speaking through Jean-Yves Le Drian, the Defence Minister, emphasised the essential role of the NATO PA as representing the founding values of the Alliance: "It is your Assembly that is the best embodiment of the determination expressed by the drafters of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty to safeguardthe freedom, common heritage and civilisation of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law".
The challenges represented by the eastern and southern neighbourhood were at the heart of the debates during this special meeting, organised in cooperation with the French Senate and National Assembly and attended by 140 people, some 70 of whom were members of the NATO PA. Those present also paid tribute to the contribution made by former leaders of the Assembly; eleven former Presidents of the institution attended.
The NATO PA brings together parliamentarians from the 28 NATO member countries and from many partner countries, as well as representatives of various international organisations. It forms an essential link between NATO and the parliaments – and consequently the citizens – of the Euro-Atlantic area. It is independent of NATO. Its founding meeting was held on 18-23 July 1955 at the Palais de Chaillot, in Paris.