Ahead of NATO Summit, Leaders of Allied Parliaments reaffirm ironclad commitment to NATO at Washington meeting

09 July 2024

Leaders from all 32 Allied parliaments and Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, including 23 Speakers of Parliament, gathered in the United States Congress earlier today to demonstrate lawmakers’ unity and resolve, at a time when NATO faces a new era of strategic competition and the greatest test for collective security and defence in a generation. Hosted by the United States delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), the NATO Parliamentary Summit took place on the eve of the 2024 NATO Summit of Allied Heads of State and Government. The NATO Summit will be held from 9 to 11 July in Washington, D.C. and mark NATO’s 75th anniversary.

In his opening address, Congressman Michael R. Turner, head of the US delegation to the NATO PA, stated, “When Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, he believed he would divide NATO. He believed we would not stand up for a democracy and that we would not stand together. He did not count on Sweden and Finland joining NATO. And NATO enlarging. And at the same time all of us becoming even more resolved to our commitment to NATO and more resolved of our commitment to Ukraine […]. And it’s certainly our honour to be able to support them in their fight for democracy.” 

Bringing together some 260 participants, the high-level gathering of lawmakers from across NATO and Ukraine showcased the importance of the parliamentary dimension of the Alliance and highlighted Allied Parliaments’ views on the key priorities for the Alliance, including support for Ukraine, strengthened deterrence and defence and addressing the growing authoritarian threat. 

Gerald E. Connolly (United States), NATO PA President, remarked to the gathering, “We have a lot to celebrate, and we have a lot we have to recommit ourselves to.” He stressed that the NATO Charter reminds us of “who we are and why this Alliance still exists 75 years later. We are a collective committed to democratic values. These are shared values.” 

“Think back 75 years ago. Europe was on its knees. The future looked very dark,” he noted. “Yet this Alliance, formed in that chaos and debris, like a phoenix rising from those ashes, created something spectacular. It created a free Western Europe at that time, and it stood up to Soviet challenges. It met the test of its time, and it met the test of endurance [...]. And we showed the world a shining example of what democracy, collective democracy could do and would do.”

Addressing the leaders of Allied parliaments, Chairman of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk, in condemning deadly Russian missile attacks on a children's hospital, noted, “Ukrainians and Kyiv demonstrated to the whole world what solidarity is. Hundreds of people standing in live chains are clearing rubble, passing bricks from hand to hand, to free those who need help, light, air, liberation from the rubble. Brick to brick. From one hand to another. Kyiv stood in traffic jams because people rushed to help the injured, the children […]. This is also solidarity.” 

“I really want to see each of you, each of our partners in this live human chain of light that overcomes death, aggression and gives hope. I will really want roads to Ukraine to be jammed with the air defence systems, aircraft, long range artillery and humanitarian aid.”

Earlier this spring, the Assembly adopted its recommendations for the Washington Summit. In their contribution, Allied legislators urged the Alliance to affirm it will stand with Ukraine until victory and beyond, resource plans to strengthen NATO deterrence and defence as well as step up the Alliance’s role in defending shared democratic values. 

Importantly, the Assembly has called upon Allies and NATO to set up a Centre for Democratic Resilience within NATO Headquarters in 14 resolutions and numerous reports. It would serve as a resource and clearinghouse on democratic benchmarks for NATO members, partners and aspirants. 

Tomorrow, President Connolly will present these recommendations to NATO’s Heads of State and Government at the Summit meeting. The Assembly’s President is traditionally invited to address NATO Summits to present the views of Allied legislators on the key issues affecting the Alliance.  

 

📷 PHOTOS OF THE EVENT


The NATO Parliamentary 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.

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