President Szczerba launches 2023 annual report ahead of yearly NATO PA gathering in Brussels

19 February 2024

“Every day in 2023, Russia pursued its war of aggression, its campaign of death, suffering and destruction against Ukraine,” stresses Michal Szczerba (Poland), President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), in his video introduction to the 2023 Annual Presidential Report

“Every day, Ukrainians showed remarkable strength and resilience […]. And every day, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly stood firmly by Ukraine.”

The annual report was launched as over 130 lawmakers from NATO nations and Sweden gather for annual Joint Committee Meetings in Brussels. The report highlights how the NATO PA in 2023 continued to mobilise the support of national governments, parliaments and populations and stood by their Ukrainian counterparts of the Verkhovna Rada and by the Ukrainian people.

“We remain 100% committed. We must provide the vital military, political, and humanitarian assistance, to help Ukraine defeat the aggressor today,” President Szczerba underlines. 

“Otherwise, NATO will pay a much higher price tomorrow. Russia must be defeated. We must stand with Ukraine until victory.”

The report also showcases the Assembly’s recommendations for the greatest and most comprehensive adaptation of the Alliance since the Cold War, which Allied leaders further boosted during their 2023 Summit in Vilnius. 

As the Alliance approaches its 75th anniversary in April and prepares for a critical NATO Summit in Washington, D.C. in July, “the Assembly will press for further and concrete adaptation grounded in our shared democratic values,” President Szczerba notes.

“We live in a strategic era of strategic competition. The Alliance must remain united and resolute, and it must deliver,” underscores the President. “Citizens must know and feel that Allies stand side by side to protect them and their ways of life.” 

“This adaptation must include further steps on NATO’s deterrence and defence, defence spending and also Ukraine’s membership path, and importantly, on defending our values,” he adds. 

“NATO needs a Democratic Resilience Centre at its Headquarters, as the Assembly has long called for,” he makes clear. 

The Assembly continues to call for the establishment of a Centre for Democratic Resilience at its Headquarters to serve as a platform for sharing resources and exchanging best practices among Allies and their partners.

The Assembly’s advocacy for the prompt completion of the accessions of Finland and Sweden to NATO are also highlighted in the report. “Last spring, the Alliance welcomed Finland as its 31st member. But the NATO PA will continue to encourage prompt ratification of Sweden’s accession,” President Szczerba says. “Sweden, like Finland, shares our values. Their memberships make all Allies safer and stronger.”

Later today, the annual meeting with the Permanent Representatives to the North Atlantic Council will take place under the joint chairpersonship of President Szczerba and Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General and Chair of the North Atlantic Council.

Over the next three days, Assembly members will discuss all these crucial topics on the transatlantic agenda with NATO, EU and national representatives. Other topics to be addressed include efforts to strengthen Allies’ defence industries, ties to the Indo-Pacific region as well as EU neighbourhood and enlargement policies and approach to energy security.

These events are not public. There will be no media opportunity.

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