NATO allies should substantially support vulnerable democracies like those that are under pressure from Russia internally or externally, said the member of NATO Expert Group Wess Mitchell during the virtual discussion on the findings of the independent group supporting NATO 2030 held today.
Mitchell pointed out that “the experts’ report is a very clear and affirming open-door policy, the western prospects and path of Ukraine and Georgia.”
“I think the group of experts saw the report as an opportunity for clarity on NATO orientation towards its Eastern partners on a couple of levels: First, I think both, tone and substance, a report is very clear and affirming open-door policy, the western prospects and path of Ukraine and Georgia and of course, in saying that, NATO allies should substantially support vulnerable democracies like those that are under pressure from Russia internally and externally.
The second thing I want to stress is that the report is constructively critical on how NATO currently manages its partnerships, including its eastern partnerships. These are tremendously valuable tools, but they’ve also grown up or evolved in a sort of luminous fashion since the Cold War. In almost greenhouse conditions, they didn’t always impose a lot of rigour and how to utilize partnerships and the result is that today you have partnerships in NATO and you can take for example partnerships with Ukraine and Georgia, where the priorities and activities of those partnerships actually come about because of demand signals from the partners themselves, as opposed to coming from NATO.
And you have very sporadic funding streams with these partnerships, there is no steady funding base, really, it’s primarily voluntarily funded by allies who care about specific partnerships,” stated Mitchel.
The NATO expert noted, the report underlines the need for being strategic when utilizing partnerships.
“If you want to strengthen the partnership with Georgia and Ukraine, start having a more strategic and systematic approach on how you are funding your partnerships, how you are utilizing and communicating with your partners,” said Mitchell.
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg appointed a group of experts on 31 March 2020 to support his work in a reflection process to further strengthen NATO’s political dimension.
An independent group, co-chaired by Dr Thomas de Maiziere and Wess Mitchell, handed over a report to NATO Secretary-General on November 25. The group’s report is one among inputs into the Secretary General’s NATO 2030 initiative.
NATO Foreign Ministers discussed the report at their virtual meeting on December 1. The Ministers focused on challenges from Russia and China.
The meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers also included a meeting with the foreign ministers of Georgia and Ukraine on security in the Black Sea region and NATO’s continued support to both partners.