The North Atlantic Council

The Nerve Centre of NATO

Room I - the venue of meetings of the North Atlantic Council which take place several times a week in the NATO Headquarters in Brussels. A Latin motto is inscribed on the wall evoking the freedom of decision-making based on consultation and consensus which is the basis for cooperation in NATO.

Take a look from the Chairman's seat.
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Beneath it sits the Chairman - the Secretary General of NATO who guides the discussions among the Ambassadors of the member countries as they address the issues of the day. To his right and left sit his senior advisors and around the table, each country's nameplate marks the seat of its Permanent Representative to NATO. They are the Council. They represent their countries and consult with their colleagues on how best to achieve the shared objectives of Alliance member countries. They seek agreement whenever they can.

Step into the middle of the Council
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Consultation takes place as a matter of course on every subject, every time a decision needs to be taken and whenever new situations develop which have implications for the Alliance and for the security of its members or for the development of security in the wider Euro-Atlantic area. Permanent Representatives present their country's positions. They report the positions and points of view of their allies to their own governments and explain the reasons for them.

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It is here in the Council room that NATO countries have taken the decisions, following consultations with their Partner countries, which have led to the establishment of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and have taken the steps which resulted in the creation of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council; the NATO-Ukraine Commission; and the Mediterranean Cooperation Group. The Council is where the Stabilisation Force for Bosnia and Herzegovina was born, where the transformation of NATO's military structures was initiated and where the preparations for the accession of three new member countries in 1999 have taken place.

The only body established by the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949, the Council has remained the nerve centre of NATO, reaffirming the solidarity of the Alliance and the independence of its member countries whenever it meets.

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