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In Brussels on the upcoming NATO Summit

16 June 2016

In Brussels on the upcoming NATO Summit

Ahead of the upcoming NATO Summit in Warsaw, the Brussels-based New Direction Foundation organised a conference and report on the key challenges in terms of security and defence. The main speakers at the event were NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow and Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz.

Ahead of the upcoming NATO Summit in Warsaw, the Brussels-based New Direction Foundation organised a conference and report on the key challenges in terms of security and defence. The main speakers at the event were NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow and Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz.

Participants at the conference pointed out that European security should be guaranteed not by the EU but by NATO and therefore the Alliance should be supported with all possible means – both financial and political – by all Member States.
During the conference it was pointed out that Transatlantic relations – in particular with the USA – should be strengthened because of their key importance in the successful functioning of the Alliance.
Among the speakers at the conference were: NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow, Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz, chair of the European Parliament’s security and defence sub-committee Chair Anna Fotyga, and Conservative defence spokesman Geoffrey Van Orden.
Mr Vershbow underlined that the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw will be one of the most important. Tomasz Poręba, New Direction President, said Europe and NATO face unprecedented threats on many different fronts: from conventional war and the expansion of terrorist groups, to the radicalisation of its citizens and the propaganda war fuelled mainly by Russia.
He said: “Russia is trying to regain lost influence and prestige by pursuing an increasingly aggressive and revanchist policy. This coincides with the fact that while doing so, the Kremlin is seeking to distract Russian citizens from the country’s growing internal problems. Turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, civil war in Syria, and conflicts in Yemen and Libya, have brought an unprecedented number of migrants and refugees towards Europe. Almost all of our neighbourhood is touched by open or frozen conflict, unrest and civil war, whilst exposed to the threat of terrorism. Therefore, the Warsaw Summit is timely and should be used as an opportunity to decisively respond to undertake a proper, coherent strategy to respond decisively to these new threats.”
Speakers pointed out the role of the NATO Alliance in the context of the war in Ukraine and Russian activities in the region. They stressed the need to enhance NATO’s engagement by strengthening its eastern flank and fundamental changes in its functioning which will be related to changes in the US administration following this November’s Presidential elections. These issues are discussed in the latest special New Direction magazine which includes contributions from Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Antoni Macierewicz, Anna Fotyga, and Peter Brooks.
In his speech Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz referred to Russian activities.
He said: “It is a country whose construction completely differs from those in the West. Russia defines and achieves its goals in a different way. Russia does not accept any norms or values which were made up beyond its territory. Russia is now the biggest threat for the global security.”
Anna Fotyga MEP spoke of threats which occur in NATO’s eastern neighbourhood. She said: “Since the Georgian war, Russia has modernised its forces in a variety of ways and to an enormous extent.” Mrs Fotyga also called for efforts to find a common definition of the threat and to respond with solidarity.
Conservative defence spokesman Geoffrey Van Orden MEP stressed the importance of Transatlantic relations for the European security.
He said: “We have to do what we can to guarantee that the US is bound to our security.” Mr Van Orden also rejected the idea of the common EU security and defence policy and pointed out that in many areas it is similar to NATO which can result in duplication of tasks and competences.

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