The pivotal issue discussed at the NATO summit on Monday in Brussels was the strategic concept of the alliance for the years ahead. This is to clearly identify the challenges facing NATO and to set out the measures needed to address these. It is part of the NATO 2030 agenda.
“All in all, this was an important NATO summit, which has provided a clear mandate for a new strategic concept and which, I believe, also marks a new beginning,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel after the summit. NATO is a “unique and important alliance” that can only operate if everyone does their bit, declared the Chancellor. For Germany, this includes the 2-per cent target.
On the way to NATO 2030
NATO member states approved NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s proposals for the NATO 2030 agenda. In future, more attention is to be paid to consultations and solidarity as well as closer cooperation with partners like the European Union.
At their last meeting in London in December 2019, the heads of state and government launched what they termed the reflection process, in response to a German initiative. Over recent months a group of experts headed by former German Federal Minister of Defence Thomas De Maizière has been drawing up recommendations for possible NATO reforms. In the run-up to the summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg presented an ambitious agenda, that builds on these proposals. This agenda was the focus of talks on Monday.
Hybrid threats addressed
The summit also addressed the threats facing all NATO member states. Hybrid threats – cyber attacks and disinformation campaigns – must be taken seriously.
Dialogue with China
The leaders discussed how China’s increasing global importance impacts on the alliance. Angela Merkel stressed that attention must be paid to opportunities for cooperation and dialogue with China as well as the possible challenges.