11th Nato Review
Of Future Tasks
Of The Alliance

6 - 8 March

Talking Points

by NATO Secretary General, Javier Solana

""A new NATO within a new security architecture:
How to make things work?"

  • Underline importance of Ebenhausen. Right time to start thinking about the NATO of the 21st century.

  • From Sintra until now we have been able to cope with the challenge of change. We have established EAPC, PJC, NUC, enhanced partner participation in decision making, reinforced our Mediterranean dialogue. At the same time we have continued our internal adaptation and dealt with the real world (Bosnia and, in a less visible manner, Albania). Workload has increased dramatically at NATO but we should not dramatize. Issues are more complex and so is there handling. The experience has been positive and reflects the relevance of NATO. Nobody questions now the existence of NATO.

  • Strategic Concept offers us the possibility to:

    • give NATO the strategic orientation it needs for the 21st century. We need to be bold. The Strategic Concept of 1991 will have lasted only 8 years (its predecessor 24). We need to avoid a continuous review of NATO's purpose.

    • however it must also remain a valid document within which our governments can develop their defence policies and our military can plan.

  • The new Strategic Concept will therefore have to reflect a balance of the old and the new. It should continue to be relevant for organizing the collective defence of the Alliance but also must tackle new missions e.g. peace support operations, counter proliferation.

  • A central issue will be the definition of the risks. The challenge will be to decide whether we follow a geographical or a functional definition of the risks. I believe that the response is to be found rather in identifying which are our real shared interest.

  • Identifying shared interest of the Allies will be key to NATO's relevance. We must avoid as far as possible ad hoc solutions or promoting coalitions of the willing. If we follow not only will NATO suffer but also other institutions of the European Security Architecture.

  • The cohesion of the Allies is also necessary to avoid diminishing the importance of collective defence (article 5):

    • it is a guarantee against the renationalisation of defence policies

    • it is the magnet for many of our cooperation efforts e.g. PfP has been built around NATO's military and defence arrangements.

  • Need to rebalance the Transatlantic link.

    • More Europe, "not less US". Even if by the time of the Washington Summit the Europeans have not finalized a conceptual design of ESDI, NATO should have in place, to the maximum extent possible, the definition of the capabilities and arrangements for the development of ESDI within NATO.

    • A new Transatlantic partnership involves not only NATO but also EU and WEU. NATO should do its part of the job. Allies on both sides of the Atlantic should ensure the same for the other strands of our Transatlantic relations.

    • At present there is no consensus for cooperation between EU and NATO but there is a need for strategic coherence. The new concept of security (a multifaceted one) cannot allow that the two major institutions that provide stability on our continent ignore each other.

  • Relations with RUSSIA. We must continue to build up our practical cooperation and avoid unnecessary fears in broadening the scope and topics of consultation. The only limit to our cooperation with Russia (and to a certain extent with all partners) should be guided by one principle: the need to preserve Allied cohesion. This limit is an evolving concept. In every given circumstance, cooperation can take place on delicate issues as long as we avoid that agreements or activities with Russia are not seen by some Allies to be done by others to their detriment.

  • EAPC. Will have to play a central role in the new Strategic Concept. It must continue to be conceived around the NAC but it should not be forced to only take decisions at 44 (Constructive abstention should remain a possibility). If EAPC is not kept alive it will be more difficult to preserve a real open door policy which does not create new dividing lines.

  • Relations with other institutions. Bosnia good example of how the new European Security Architecture can work. We should avoid designing theoretical schemes that might become more of a problem than a solution in handling future crisis. Yes to a division of labour, no to unnecessary bureaucratic structures.

  • 50th anniversary is more than a ceremony to celebrate achievements of the past or just to welcome 3 new Allies. It should be an occasion to define the NATO of the 21st century. The Washington Treaty offers us the flexibility we need. For 50 years we had to concentrate on article 5 but there is much more in the North Atlantic Treaty. The Strategic Concept should bring about a new Transatlantic consensus exploiting to the maximum extent possible its potential.

 [ Go to Speeches Menu ]  [ Go to Homepage ]