The agenda of the first day of the Defence Ministers meeting focused on the NATO 2030 initiative’s proposals put forward by the Secretary General. As an input for the New Strategic Concept and the upcoming NATO Summit, fairer burden sharing with more emphasis on capability contributions, resilience development of the allied nations, and defence innovations were subject to discussions.
While constantly working on preparing the organization for the future challenges, Jens Stoltenberg also highlighted the importance to include partner countries into joint exercises and capacity building. Latter is serving a double purpose; promoting transatlantic values and stability in the Alliance’s neighborhood, while countering terrorism and countries challenging the rule of law. In light of a global approach, the impacts of climate change has been also tackled. As a platform for political and practical cooperation, the first day has been concluded with meetings with Finland, Sweden, and the High Representative of the European Union.
The second day’s focus lied on the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since no conclusion has been reached regarding NATO’s presence on Afghan soil, consultations will continue in the light of the approaching deadline of withdrawal (1st of May). Since decreasing the troops is condition-based, the Secretary General called on all parties of the ongoing peace process to live up to their commitments, limit violence and eliminate all connections with international terrorist groups. Regarding Iraq, a decision has been adapted line with the request of the Iraqi government and coordination with the Global Coalition, to expand the size of the mission from 500 to around 4000 personnel.
As a final remark, the Secretary General called for the revitalization of the political dialogue between allies to continue making the NATO future-proof and ready to deliver on its core task, defending the transatlantic region.