NATO Secretary General Releases Policy Experts Report on Transatlantic Bond

June 10, 2014
June 10, 2014 - At a conference in Brussels today, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen released findings and recommendations from the Transatlantic Bond Project’s policy experts group. Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, participated in the group tasked with making recommendations to “extend, nurture and sustain” broad political support for a strong transatlantic relationship, and “foster a new transatlantic spirit” among NATO nations publics.

The conclusions and recommendations from the report, Collective Defence and Common Security: Twin Pillars of the Atlantic Alliance (PDF), will serve as a basis for the Transatlantic Declaration to be adopted at the NATO Wales Summit in September 2014. Recommendations range from a fair and continued investment in defense by all Allies to the need for greater NATO outreach with both NATO nations publics and “like-minded partners around the world.”

"The report emphasized that even as our commitment to collective defense needs to be enhanced in the wake of Russia's aggression, the Atlantic Alliance needs to remain engaged in helping to foster common security beyond Europe,” said Daalder. “Safety at home requires security abroad."

Speaking at the Transatlantic Bond Project Conference in Brussels today, Rasmussen stressed the importance of a strong relationship between Europe and North America to address current security risks and threats. “Transatlantic resolve and unity will be critical in meeting all these complex challenges,” he said. “NATO is the unique political and military instrument that allows us to muster that transatlantic resolve, and translate it into unified action.”

Key points from the policy experts report include:
  • Transatlantic security cannot be taken for granted. Following its withdrawal from Afghanistan, NATO needs to reaffirm its value around the twin objectives of collective defence and common security.

Upholding peace and stability in Europe
  • The commitment under NATO’s Article V to treat an attack against one as an attack against all must be credible, and NATO members should take concrete steps together to make it so. Tallinn should be as secure as Toronto.
  • There can be no return to a ‘strategic partnership’ between NATO and Russia so long as Russia’s actions threaten European security.
  • European governments bear particular responsibility for ensuring their own territorial security. They must invest in the necessary R&D, equipment and deployable capabilities. No amount of ‘smarter’ defence will compensate for a failure to reverse falling defence spending.
  • NATO needs to develop effective responses to the ‘non-linear’ forms of aggression seen during the crisis in Ukraine. But the EU should take the lead in helping its members and neighbours embed good governance practices that will lessen their vulnerability to external destabilization.
  • European countries should reduce their dependence on Russian energy. Russia’s main strength should no longer be Europe’s main vulnerability.
  • NATO’s door should remain open to all European democracies that share the values of the Alliance. However, existing members must be ready, willing and able to extend the full benefits of Alliance membership to them, including those in Article V.

Confronting international insecurity
  • NATO should not turn inwards after 2014. Much of the Middle East, and North Africa face a decade of turmoil which will pose direct threats to NATO members.
  • In Asia, unresolved territorial disputes and historical animosities are driving dramatic rises in defence spending. It must be remembered that the Pacific Ocean is the western flank of NATO.
  • In this context, it should not be left to the United States and a handful of others to deploy hard power beyond NATO’s borders. An over-reliance on US power projection will erode the foundations of the transatlantic bond over time.
  • NATO and the EU must also cooperate closely to deliver their comprehensive range of capabilities to manage international crises, from market access and development assistance to military intervention and post-conflict civilian support.
  • Completion of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will strengthen the transatlantic community strategically as well as economically.
  • NATO needs to differentiate its approach to working with its international partners. In particular, it should develop long-term cooperative arrangements with the small number of countries in Europe and beyond which have contributed actively alongside NATO to international security in recent years.
  • The NATO–Russia Council should continue to operate at ambassadorial and higher levels. This will help the two sides coordinate responses to international crises and potentially rebuild trust on European security.
  • NATO publics are increasingly sceptical about the value of any form of external intervention. Political leaders need to communicate better the deterioration of the security situation in Europe; the importance of international security to their nations' welfare and prosperity; and the need to protect the core values that underpin the Alliance, especially democratic governance, open economies and the rule of law.

The Transatlantic Bond project was launched earlier this year to review the state of the transatlantic relationship. A group of members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, a group of experts from 10 NATO countries and a group of young leaders were established to reflect on the subject and provide recommendations for the future.

The group of policy experts was led by Robin Niblett, who is the director of Chatham House, London. Participants included:
  • Martin Butora, Head of the Institute of Public Affairs, Bratislava
  • Ivo Daalder, President, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Chicago
  • Camille Grand, Director of the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, Paris
  • Ana Palacio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and member of the Consejo de Estado of Spain
  • Roland Paris, Director of the Centre for International Policy Studies, Ottawa
  • Volker Perthes, Director Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Berlin
  • Nathalie Tocci, Deputy Director, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rome
  • Sinan Ulgen, Director of Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM), Istanbul
  • Marcin Zaborowski, Director of Polish Institute for International Affairs, Warsaw