2021 - PRELIMINARY DRAFT REPORT - THE TRANSATLANTIC LINK AND BURDEN SHARING IN THE CHANGING STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENT

Ahmet YILDIZ (Turkey)

15 April 2021

This preliminary draft report discusses ways to rejuvenate the transatlantic bond and to seek fairer burden sharing in the context of the NATO 2030 debate. Despite the pandemic and other new challenges, NATO continues to demonstrate its unique ability to find consensus among its 30 Allies and to deliver on its core tasks of collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security. Allies remain committed to the same set of values and share security concerns. Nevertheless, the past several years have also brought to the fore certain differences among the Allies, exemplified by sometimes unhelpful political rhetoric. External actors, especially Russia and China, continued to seek to exploit and deepen these differences. Despite progress in defence spending since 2014, the quest for fairer burden sharing within NATO and adequate support to members on the Alliance’s frontlines remains unfinished.

With regard to burden sharing, the report calls on all Allies to recommit to the 2% and 20% targets by 2024 at the upcoming NATO summit. However, and without prejudice to the Wales summit commitments, there is a legitimate need for the Allies to consider potential new ways of ensuring fairer burden sharing. In particular, the Allies should recognise the special role played by the Alliance’s flank countries that use their national resources to shield other NATO members from external challenges such as terrorism or irregular migration.

With regard to other avenues for reinforces transatlantic cooperation, the draft report notes that the conditions are currently favourable for North American and European Allies to agree on a common strategy on China based on the notion of “competition”. The multilateralist rhetoric of the new US administration also creates a new impetus for developing a meaningful partnership between NATO and the EU. The EU efforts towards a stronger European defence capacity is to be welcomed insofar as these strengthen NATO and fully involve non-EU European Allies. The Allies should also recommit to the “in together, out together” approach to NATO-led mission, particularly in the context of the transition in Afghanistan.

The preliminary draft report supports the adoption of a new NATO Strategic Concept, which should, inter alia, promote a more ‘political NATO’ through increased political consultation to facilitate the convergence of views among Allies. The drafting of the new Strategic Concept offers an opportunity for all Allies to seal the new transatlantic strategy for the changing security environment and to use the full potential of this unique transatlantic relationship.

This preliminary draft report will be discussed by the Political Committee (PC) at the Spring Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.


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