In meeting with North Atlantic Council, Allied legislators stress the need for continued NATO transformation, based on shared democratic values, and unwavering support to Ukraine

19 February 2024

"We have to prepare NATO for the next generations. We have to prepare it to be stronger than ever,” stressed Michal Szczerba, President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), while opening a meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) and the Assembly’s leadership. 

“Article 5 is and will remain the cornerstone of our shared security. One for all. All for one. In every circumstance,” underlined the President. 

“We have to invest more in our security. We have to build up our defence industries. It should also benefit our economies. Last but not least, we have to make sure the money is spent well.” 

Every February, the Permanent Representatives to the NAC and the NATO PA Standing Committee meet under the joint chairpersonship of the NATO PA President and the NATO Secretary General.

“It is our duty, as parliamentarians, to ensure our societies understand that security is at the heart of our prosperity,” he told the NAC and the NATO parliamentarians. “The 75th anniversary [of NATO] is a good occasion to speak about this – loudly and with confidence.”

“NATO is the most successful alliance in modern history. For 75 years, it has delivered,” the President stressed. “We need to ensure that NATO continues to deliver. For the decades to come,” said the President.

Just ahead of the two-year mark of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and as the Alliance prepares for a crucial NATO Summit in Washington, D.C. in July, discussions also centred on the need for unwavering support to Ukraine and for continued NATO transformation.

“We cannot waver in our support for Ukraine. We cannot allow for Ukraine war fatigue,” President Szczerba stressed and added: “If we don’t mobilise enough resources to help Ukraine defeat the aggressor today, we, NATO Allies, will pay a much higher price tomorrow.”

With a view towards the July Summit, he also appealed to the Allied Ambassadors to “redouble our efforts to help Ukraine advance towards membership.”

“Ukraine wants to join. And we want them to join as soon as possible,” he stressed. “There will be no lasting peace in Europe without Ukraine in NATO.”

To further deepen NATO transformation, the Assembly stood ready to “help strengthen NATO now and into the future.” In particular, “we must demonstrate that all Allies take on a fair share of the burden for our common defence and security,” President Szczerba made clear.

Transformation would not be complete, however, if it was not grounded in the shared democratic values which underpin the Alliance.

“NATO took a significant step with the adoption of the new Strategic Concept,” President Szczerba argued, as the Concept recognises the fundamental threat autocracies pose to Allied security and democratic way of life. 

The Assembly has long called for the establishment of a Democratic Resilience Centre at NATO Headquarters to serve as a platform for sharing resources and exchanging best practices among Allies and their partners.

Participants also discussed Sweden’s accession to NATO as well as other topics high on NATO’s agenda ahead of the Washington Summit, including:

-    engaging and supporting partners and NATO aspirants in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Indo-Pacific region and the Southern neighbourhood;
-    NATO-EU cooperation.
-    NATO command structure reforms;
-    the role of NATO’s nuclear capabilities in deterrence; and
-    strategic communications and countering disinformation campaigns.

The meeting with the NAC is part of the Assembly’s Joint Committee Meetings, which take place every February in Brussels. These annual meetings are key opportunities for Allied legislators to engage with NATO leaders, national officials, and key experts. The meetings are not open to the public.

Photos © NATO 

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