Summit sets NATO on collision course with China; continues to press for high levels of military spending despite pandemic; and resumes hostility to nuclear ban treaty

An analysis of the NATO Summit Communiqué, Brussels, 14 June 2021

Key features of the NATO Summit and Communiqué:

  • Biden called US support for NATO a “sacred obligation”.
  • The summit adopted three official texts: a Brussels Summit Communiqué (79 paragraphs), a Strengthened Resilience Commitment (11 paras) and a NATO Climate Change and Action Plan (10 paras).
  • The NATO leaders affirmed an extraordinarily extensive global mission for NATO, as developed within the ‘NATO 2030 agenda’.
  • Russia is perceived to be the key “threat”, while China presents growing “systemic challenges”.
  • Further increases in military spending are being promoted to contain both China and Russia, and to meet other security challenges, despite economic shocks caused by the worst health pandemic in a century.
  • NATO bid a symbolic farewell to Afghanistan after nearly 20 years inside the country, although funding and remote training of Afghan forces will continue.
  • While committing not to deploy land-based nuclear missiles in Europe, NATO also continued to voice its opposition to the nuclear ban treaty.
  • The mutual defence clause (Article 5) was expanded to include a collective response to attacks on space assets (in addition to traditional military and cyber attacks).
  • The NATO leaders agreed to undertake an annual Climate Change and Security Impact Assessment, as well as climate adaption, mitigation and outreach strategies. NATO’s first Climate Change and Security Progress Report will be delivered at the 2022 NATO Summit.
  • To foster increased technological cooperation within NATO, a civil-military Defence Innovation Accelerator was launched, alongside a NATO Innovation Fund to support start-ups working on dual-use emerging and disruptive technologies.
  • Work will now begin on a new Strategic Concept to replace the 2010 version.
  • NATO’s next summit will be held in 2022 in Spain; and thereafter in Lithuania (date yet to be decided).

Read the attached pdf briefing to find out more.

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