Doubling down on support for Ukraine, adapting to strategic competition at the heart of NATO PA Annual Session in Copenhagen

04 October 2023

“Over a year and a half ago, Russia restarted its illegal and vicious war of aggression against Ukraine,” acting President Michal Szczerba (Poland) underlines in his welcome video to the Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA).

“Moscow still aims to bring Ukraine’s democracy to its knees,” he stresses. “We cannot waver. On the contrary, we must step up and accelerate our support to Ukraine – for as long as it takes for Ukraine to prevail.”

Hosted by Denmark’s Folketing, the Session will begin tomorrow Friday 6 October and continue until Monday 9 October, closing with a Plenary Sitting. More than 250 members of lawmakers from the 31-member NATO Alliance and 20 partners parliaments will discuss the issues at the top of the Euro-Atlantic defence and security agenda. 

Throughout, the Assembly will reiterate its resolute stance on Russia and its unwavering support for Ukraine. On Monday, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk will address members during the Plenary Sitting.

Lawmakers will also examine the outcomes of NATO’s milestone Summit in July and adopt further recommendations for NATO’s adaptation.

“NATO must adapt to this new era of strategic competition with unity, resolve and commitment. NATO must reinforce its deterrence and defence posture, especially on our eastern flank,” stresses acting President Szczerba.

On Monday, the full Assembly will exchange on these and other matters with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Speaker of the Folketing Søren Gade, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) General Philippe Lavigne.

Defending the Alliance’s shared democratic values and the international rules-based order will be in focus as well – a foundational mission the NATO PA believes must be operationalised.

“NATO must translate the recommitment to shared democratic values into concrete action,” urges acting President Szczerba, who will also speak to the Assembly on Monday. “It is time to set up a Centre for Democratic Resilience at NATO Headquarters.” 

The Assembly’s proposal to establish this Centre has received the support of the vast majority of the Allied governments. 

“Democracy inspires people the world over,” the acting President notes. “I am glad we will be able to recognise one remarkable woman’s fight in Copenhagen, as we award this year’s Women for Peace and Security prize to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.” 

Ms Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is the leader of the Belarusian democratic forces. She joins former Speaker of the US House of Representative Nancy Pelosi and Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna as the third recipient of this award and will speak in the Plenary Sitting.

Members will also discuss progress on Sweden’s accession to NATO. “At our last session, we could welcome Finland as our 31st member. In Copenhagen, we will discuss how we can bring closer the day when Sweden becomes our 32nd member,” says acting President Szczerba. 

During the annual session, members will adopt draft reports in the Assembly’s five Committees and resolutions distilling the NATO PA’s policy recommendations.

Other key topics on the agenda of the Copenhagen session include:

  • accelerating the adaptation of NATO’s deterrence and defence posture, including in the Baltic and Black Sea regions;
  • strengthening resilience, combatting disinformation and securing critical infrastructure and supplies;
  • China’s global role and challenge, including its deepening partnership with Russia;
  • the implications of Russia’s war for Allied capabilities, the need to strengthen the industrial base and developments in emerging and disruptive technologies;
  • further reinforcing the unique transatlantic bond.

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