NATO Summit – what it is?

5 July 2016

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NATO Summit – what it is?

NATO Summits – what it is?
NATO Summits are periodic meetings held at the highest level between heads of state and heads of government of 28 NATO member countries to assess and give strategic direction to the Alliance. Until 2016 there were 26 NATO Summits, each one of them representing a new juncture point for the Alliance decision-making process. As NATO is one of the pillars of European security, projecting stability inside Europe and beyond its borders, NATO Summits are significant events for member states, partner countries and the international community as a whole. The decisions taken in the framework of the Summits introduce new policies meant to adapt the Alliance to the ever-changing security environment, launches major initiatives and opens up new cooperation tools for allies and partners.
Warsaw Summit 2016
The Warsaw Summit carries a major symbolic meaning. Once a signing place of Warsaw Pact in 1955, a military alliance between Soviet Union and the satellite states against NATO, after six decades it host a NATO Summit – the very “enemy” it was once meant to fight. It is a testament to how the world and NATO has transformed, turning former rivals into allies.
“The Summit is going to be one of the most important Summits in history of the Alliance because we are faced with fundamental changes in the security environment.”
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General
It will be one of the most important and anticipated Summits because it will constitute a new evolution phase for the Alliance. With the recent developments, there is an ongoing reevaluating of NATO’s core tasks of collective defence, cooperative security and crisis management. Numerous policy and decision makers share the feeling that Europe had a “false sense of security”, which is indicated by neglecting the collective defence aspect and decreasing security and defence spending. As a result, the discussions at the Warsaw Summit will be heavily influenced by the rhetoric of enhancing the NATO’s collective defence and deterrence capabilities by going back to its roots as a traditional military alliance. On the other hand we can also expect NATO to continue to develop its soft power tools by improving its crisis management mechanism and stepping up its cooperative security by building new partnerships and strengthening the existing ones.
challenges for the nato summit
Since the NATO Wales Summit in 2014, two key security dimensions have emerged. First dimension is in the “East”, where Russia challenged the status quo and threatened the regional security in Baltics, Eastern Europe and the Black Sea. The discussions at Warsaw Summit on eastern dimension will include the question of finding a new approach towards Russia, rethinking the Alliance’s deterrence and defence capabilities, revising its approach towards neutral countries like Austria, Finland and Sweden, and building resilience in post-soviet states. Second dimension is in the “South” and it is linked with the threat from the Islamic State (ISIL) and the huge wave of refugees in the wake of regional conflicts in Middle East and North Africa. The issues covered on the southern dimension deals with countering terrorism and extremism, managing crises in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Syria, and helping Europe manage the refugee crisis. The main task ahead of the Warsaw Summit is to find a balance between these two dimensions and to tackle the challenges with a single and unified voice.
“The Warsaw Summit is shaping up as one of the most consequential in NATO’s history. We have to step up to meet security challenges from the East and the South”
Alexander Vershbow, NATO Deputy Secretary General

Moldova in the context of NATO Summit in Warsaw
The key principle that defines the relationship between Republic of Moldova and NATO is the country’s neutral status. But neutrality is not the same isolationism, especially in the context of contemporary world which demands cooperation among countries and other international actors. As his Excellency Mr. James D. Petit said at the International Conference “NATO Summit in Warsaw: Tackling New Threats”.
“Cooperation with NATO first of all is based on common values and Moldova need to demonstrate a pattern of cooperation and commitment.”
H.E. James D. Pettit, U.S. Ambassador to Republic of Moldova
The current partnership between Republic of Moldova and NATO is build upon the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP). Moldova also cooperates with the North Atlantic Alliance in the framework of Partnership for Peace (PfP) and had contributed troops to the Kosovo Force (KFOR) since March 2014. Most recently at the NATO Wales Summit in 2014, Moldova negotiated the Defence and Security Capacity Building Initiative (DCBI). DCBI is a country-tailored assistance package, where Moldova benefits from NATO’s advice, assistance, support, training, education and mentoring activities in the defence and related security sector. These are important milestones that defines the quality of the Moldova-NATO partnership and the Warsaw Summit might become yet another important benchmark.
Moldova was invited as a partner to the Warsaw Summit taking place from 8’th to 9’th of July. The discussion held at the Summit, especially on the Eastern dimension, are very important for Moldova because we may expect a transformation of NATO-Russia relationship. As a result the whole East-West paradigm we currently experience in Moldova may gain an absolutely new aspect. With increasing importance of hybrid warfare, Moldova should be prepared enhance its resilience in order manage new threats. Another significant decision we should look for at the Summit, is how NATO will develop its cooperation with European Union. The recent evolution in European politics concerning Brexit and increased talks about creating a pan-European security space will test the transatlantic link. In this context, Moldova should closely observe these changes and adjust its partnerships accordingly. The last issues we should pay attention to is NATO’s stance on the open door policy, especially concerning Eastern Europe. Even though the Summit is not expected to offer a membership action plan for Georgia and Ukraine, NATO enlargement still remains a very important and highly debated issue. Being a country at the intersection of several geopolitical interests, Moldova’s neutrality may gain a completely new meaning and importance in the future.
In conclusion the upcoming NATO Warsaw Summit will be one of the most important Summits in the recent history and Moldova should keep very close attention to the decisions taken at the there in order to keep up with the changing security environment in Europe and beyond its borders.

Further reading:
1. Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, Martin Quencez and Martin Michelot. The Five Most Contentious Issues on the Road to Warsaw. German Marshal Fund. December 3, 2015.
2. Alina Inayeh, Ozgur Unluhisarcikli and Michal Baranowski. Avoiding the East-South Divide Ahead of the NATO Summit. German Marshal Fund. June 8, 2016
3. Andrew Michta. All Not Quiet on NATO’s Eastern Front. Carnegie Europe, June 28, 2016.
4. Artur Kacprzyk, Kacper Rękawek, Witold Rodkiewicz, Andrzej Wilk. NATO and the Future of Peace in Europe: Towards a Tailored Approach. Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM). Warsaw, 2016.
5. Dániel Bartha, Ján Cingel, Martin Michelot and Bruno Lete. A View from Central Europe: NATO`s eastern expansion. Globsec Policy Institute. May 16, 2016.
6. Ian Anthony and Ian Davis. The 2016 NATO Summit: What will be on the agenda in Warsaw? Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. June 15, 2016.
7. Mitch Hulse. NATO’s Warsaw Summit: ‘Failure is Not an Option’. Atlantic Council. June 3, 2016.
8. Stanley Sloan. NATO’s Hollowing Values Agenda. Atlantic Council. May, 2016.
9. Trine Flockhart. An Agenda for NATO’s 2016 Warsaw Summit – Back to Basics or Just Backwards? Danish Institute for International Studies Policy Brief. August, 2015.
10. Сергей Рекеда. Чего ждать постсоветскому пространству от саммита НАТО в Варшаве? Российский совет по международным делам. 21 июня 2016.