Tomorrow, the Spring Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) will begin in Luxembourg, hosted by the Chamber of Deputies of the Grand Duchy. Over four days, almost 250 members of parliament from NATO member nations and 16 partners will discuss how to step up the support for Ukraine and accelerate the implementation of NATO’s new Strategic Concept and the important decisions taken at last year’s NATO Summit in Madrid.
After Finland’s accession to NATO on 4 April, the gathering will be the first Assembly Session “at 31”. “It will be a great pleasure to welcome our colleagues from the Finnish Parliament for the first time as full members, and we hope that Sweden will be joining us very soon as well,” stresses NATO PA President, Joelle Garriaud-Maylam (France) in her welcome video.
Russia's unjustified, unprovoked and brutal war of aggression against Ukraine will be in the spotlight throughout.
“This Spring Session will be an opportunity for us all to reaffirm our solidarity with Ukraine,” says President Garriaud-Maylam. “We will continue to stand with Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression for as long as it takes for Ukraine to prevail.”
The Session will kick off with an extraordinary joint meeting of the Assembly’s governing body – the Standing Committee – and the Ukraine-NATO Interparliamentary Council – the Assembly’s bilateral group for relations with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov will address the Plenary Sitting on Monday 22 May. Oleksandra Matviichuk, Director of the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties, which won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, will also engage with NATO PA members over the weekend.
Taking place just two months ahead of the NATO Summit of Allied Heads of State and Government hosted by Lithuania in July, lawmakers will also review progress in implementing NATO’s forward-looking new Strategic Concept and the important decisions taken at last year’s NATO Summit in Madrid.
“This Summit should speed up NATO's adjustment to the Russian threat, and more broadly to a world marked by new strategic competition and value conflicts,” notes the NATO PA President.
During Monday’s Plenary Sitting, the Assembly will also adopt its recommendations for NATO Summit in Vilnius, after having exchanged with NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana earlier in the day.
Importantly, emphasises President Garriaud-Maylam, “we will once again call on NATO leaders to give concrete expression to the commitments enshrined in NATO's Strategic Concept to defend an international order based on democratic values and the rule of law. We will notably call for the creation of a Centre for Democratic Resilience within NATO Headquarters.” The Assembly’s proposal to establish this Centre has received the support of the vast majority of the Allied governments.
Over the weekend, members will have the opportunity to discuss threats to democracy with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the democratic forces of Belarus.
Monday’s Plenary Sitting will also be addressed by NATO PA President Garriaud-Maylam, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, President of the Chamber of Deputies Fernand Etgen and Minister of Defence and Vice Prime Minister François Bausch.
During the Session, the Assembly's five Committees will discuss their 2023 draft reports and hear from a range of top Luxembourg and NATO officials and experts on these and other critical topics, including:
- defending the Alliance’s shared democratic values and the international rules-based order;
- 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;
- NATO’s partnerships and the future of the Open Door policy;
- 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; and
- further reinforcing the unique transatlantic bond.
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