Halifax, Canada, 19 November 2018 – British Member of Parliament Madeleine Moon was elected Monday as President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, succeeding Rasa Jukneviciene from Lithuania, whose mandate had expired.
Moon was endorsed by acclamation at the 64th NATO PA plenary session in Halifax, Canada, becoming the first woman to be voted President by the entire Assembly. Her term runs for up to two years.
In her acceptance speech, Moon underlined the need for NATO allies to meet their defence spending pledges, and emphasized her commitment to aspiring NATO partners, women in defence, youth leadership and, more broadly, peace and security.
“We all know we are living in a period of great flux and change, and I see this as a time of change for the Assembly also. This is not a time for business as usual,” she told the parliamentarians.
But, she insisted, “this is not going to be a case of one woman driving change. All of us need to work together in unison and with a shared sense of common purpose, to develop new ways of cooperation and collaboration that allow this Assembly to continue to grow and to make its voice heard.”
Moon has served at the Assembly since 2009 and been the Deputy Head of the United Kingdom Delegation for three years. From 2012-2015, the Welsh Labour MP was vice-Chairperson of the Sub-Committee on Transatlantic Defence and Security Cooperation. She later acted as Rapporteur for the Sub-Committee on Future Security and Defence Capabilities.
Moon will be ably supported five vice presidents, who were also elected by acclamation. They are Vitalino Canas from Portugal, Franklin Van Kappen from the Netherlands, Osman Askin Bak from Turkey, Richard Benyon from the United Kingdom and US Congressman Mike Turner.
Thanking parliamentarians and officials in her final address as president, Jukneviciene said: “Growing up in occupied Lithuania, I would never have imagined that I would one day become the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.”
“For me, as the grand-daughter of a victim of the Stalin gulags, it was an honour and a privilege to be able to serve in this capacity,” said Jukneviciene, who served as president for two months, stepping in to complete former president Paolo Alli’s mandate.
Established in 1955, the NATO PA brings together members of parliaments from all NATO member countries and some associate parliaments. The Assembly is a forum for discussion on a wide range of security, political and economic matters and is NATO’s link to national parliaments and therefore citizens in the trans-Atlantic area.