The NATO-Russia Council (NRC), was established at the NATO-Russia Summit in Rome on 28 May 2002. It replaced the Permanent Joint Council (PJC), a forum for consultation and cooperation created by the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, which remains the formal basis for NATO-Russia relations. The (NRC) is a mechanism for consultation, consensus-building, cooperation, joint decision and joint action, in which the individual NATO member states and Russia work as equal partners on a wide spectrum of security issues of common interest. The spirit of meetings has dramatically changed under the NRC, in which Russia and NATO member states meet as equals "at 29" in areas of common interest - instead of in the bilateral "NATO+1" format under the PJC.
The NRC was established by the 2002 Rome Declaration on "NATO-Russia Relations: a New Quality", which builds on the goals and principles of the 1997 Founding Act. Its purpose is to serve as the principal structure and venue for advancing the relationship between NATO and Russia.
In accordance with the Rome declaration, NATO member states and Russia work as equal partners in areas of common interest in the framework of the NRC, which provides a mechanism for consultation consensus-building, cooperation, joint decision and joint action on a wide spectrum of security issues in the Euro-Atlantic region. The members of the NRC, acting in their national capacities and in a manner consistent with their respective collective commitments and obligations, take joint decisions and bear equal responsibility, individually and jointly for their implementation.
Work under the NATO-Russia Council focuses on all areas of mutual interest identified in the Founding Act. Cooperation is being intensified in a number of key areas, which include the fight against terrorism, crisis management, non-proliferation, arms control and confidence-building measures, theatre missile defence, logistics, military-to-military cooperation, defence reform and civil emergencies. New areas may be added to the NRC's agenda by the mutual consent of its members.
Meetings of the NRC are chaired by NATO's Secretary General and are held at least monthly at the level of ambassadors and military representatives; twice yearly at the level of foreign and defence ministers and chiefs of staff; and occasionally at summit level. Under the NRC is the Preparatory Committee, which meets at least twice a month to prepare ambassadorial discussions and to oversee all experts' activities under the auspices of the NRC
Since the NRC's establishment, it has evolved into a productive mechanism for consultation, consensus-building, cooperation, joint decision and joint action. As an example, more than 25 working groups and committees have been created to develop cooperation on terrorism, proliferation, peacekeeping, theatre missile defence, airspace management, civil emergencies, defence reform, logistics, scientific cooperation for peace and security.
In fact, hardly a day goes by without an NRC meeting at one level or another, leading to an unprecedented intensity of contacts and informal consultation in many different fields, conducted in a friendly and workmanlike atmosphere.