Over 40 lawmakers from across the NATO Alliance and from Sweden met today to discuss the outcomes of last week’s consequential NATO Summit. NATO PA President, Gerald E. Connolly (United States), who addressed NATO Heads of State and Government on behalf of the Assembly in Madrid, and NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy Javier Colomina shared their insights with Allied parliamentarians about the key takeaways from the Madrid Summit.
Opening the meeting, President Connolly highlighted the significance of the Madrid Summit, “which demonstrated the Alliance’s unity and resolve in the face of unprecedented, grave challenges and threats”. As he did in his address in Madrid, he warned that “authoritarian powers increasingly threaten our democracies. And Russia’s war against Ukraine is a tragic illustration of this global contest”.
Congressman Connolly therefore welcomed “the strong reaffirmation of NATO’s shared democratic values in the new Strategic Concept”, while stressing that “in order for the Alliance to gird itself against the march of authoritarianism, NATO needed to move beyond the rhetorical in its commitment to democratic institutions”.
To do so, the Assembly has proposed establishing a Democratic Resilience Centre at NATO Headquarters, “not to be a watchdog”, President Connolly insisted, “but to serve as a resource to propound democratic values and protect the institutions that keep our democracies strong”.
The Summit of Allied Heads of State and Government held in Madrid on 29-30 June endorsed a broad and substantial set of measures, both to respond to Russia’s war against Ukraine and to adapt NATO for the long term. In particular, Allied leaders endorsed a new Strategic Concept – NATO’s main strategic guidance – and agreed new measures to significantly strengthen the Alliance’s defence and deterrence posture.
Mr Connolly urged prompt and full implementation of this strengthened posture, particularly in the East of the Alliance, and welcomed the new Strategic Concept’s recognition of the challenges posed by China’s ambitions and coercive policies. He also highlighted the need for the Alliance to address simultaneously other threats and challenges, including the persistent, direct threat of terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, instability in the South and other neighbouring regions of the Alliance and the impact of climate change.
President Connolly welcomed the invitation extended by Allied leaders to Finland and Sweden to join NATO and the signing of accession protocols for both countries earlier this week. He urged NATO PA members to use their influence to speed up ratification of Finland and Sweden’s accession in the Alliance’s 30 parliaments.
Earlier this year, the Assembly adopted a set of recommendations for the Madrid Summit, including its contribution to NATO’s next Strategic Concept as well declarations on Standing with Ukraine and on Confronting Russia’s Threat authored respectively by Michal Szczerba of Poland and President Connolly himself.
The Assembly is institutionally separate from NATO but serves as an essential link between NATO and the parliaments as well as citizens of the NATO nations.