The NATO-Russia Council (NRC) was conceived as a mechanism for consultation, consensus-building, cooperation, joint decision and joint action. Within the NRC, the individual NATO member states and Russia have worked as equal partners on a wide spectrum of security issues of common interest.
Following Russia’s illegal military intervention in Ukraine and its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in April 2014 the Alliance suspended all practical cooperation between NATO and Russia including in the NRC. However, the Alliance agreed to keep channels of communication open in the NRC and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council at the Ambassadorial level and above, to allow the exchange of views, first and foremost on this crisis. In April 2016, almost two years after the last meeting of the NRC, NRC members agree to convene a meeting.
The NRC was established at the NATO-Russia Summit in Rome on 28 May 2002 by the Declaration on “NATO-Russia Relations: a New Quality”. The Rome Declaration builds on the goals and principles of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, which remains the formal basis for NATO-Russia relations. The NRC replaced the Permanent Joint Council (PJC), a forum for consultation and cooperation created by the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act.
Under the NRC, Russia and NATO member states meet as equals “at 29” – instead of in the bilateral “NATO+1” format under the PJC.
The purpose of the NRC has been to serve as the principal structure and venue for advancing the relationship between NATO and Russia. Operating on the basis of consensus, it has sought to promote continuous political dialogue on security issues with a view to the early identification of emerging problems, the determination of common approaches, the development of practical cooperation and the conduct of joint operations, as appropriate. Work under the NATO-Russia Council has focused on all areas of mutual interest identified in the Founding Act. New areas have been added to the NRC’s agenda by the mutual consent of its members.