The NATO-Russia Council (NRC) was established 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.
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.
In April 2014, following Russia’s illegal military intervention in Ukraine and its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Alliance suspended all practical cooperation between NATO and Russia including that which took place in the framework of 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 the crisis in Ukraine.
Three meetings of the NATO-Russia Council took place in 2016, three in 2017, two in 2018, and two in 2019. NATO remains open to a periodic, focused and meaningful political dialogue with Russia on the basis of reciprocity, as agreed at the NATO Summit in Warsaw in July 2016. The NATO-Russia Council has an important role to play as a forum for dialogue and information exchange, to reduce misunderstandings and increase predictability. NATO proposed to hold another meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in February 2020, and that proposal stands. The ball is in Russia’s court.
The 30 individual Allies and Russia are equal partners in the NRC – instead of meeting in the bilateral “NATO+1” format under the PJC.