Summit prepares ground for ‘NATOisation of Europe’ and continues collision course with China and high levels of military spending

Analysis of the NATO Madrid Summit, 29-30 June 2022

By Dr. Ian Davis, NATO Watch

The NATO Madrid Summit took place on the 29-30 June 2022. In a pre-Summit press conference on the 27 June, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called it “transformative, with many important decisions”, including a new Strategic Concept, a major strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and defence and greater support to Ukraine. NATO leaders would also focus on investing in defence, aim to make progress on Finland and Sweden’s “historic applications for NATO membership” and deepen cooperation with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, he said.

However, despite all the backslapping in Madrid, the 2022 Strategic Concept sets NATO on a path that is likely to lead to a further deterioration in relations between the world's ‘great’ powers. It is a path that seeks to protect the interests of some of the most militarised states in the world rather than one that protects humanity. At a time when humanity and the planet face an array of profound and pressing common challenges, it is hard to escape the conclusion that international cooperation to address those challenges became even harder as a result of the Madrid Summit.

The attached briefing discusses key developments at the Summit under the following eight headings: I. Strengthening NATO’s long-term deterrence and defence; II. Sustaining support for Ukraine; III. Launching NATO’s 2022 Strategic Concept; IV. Reinforcing partnerships and maintaining an Open Door; V. Membership invitation for Finland and Sweden; VI. Military investments and burden-sharing; VII. Combating climate change; and VIII. Challenges in the southern neighbourhood and the fight against terrorism

Key decisions at the Summit:

  • NATO agreed a new force structure to deter Russia: NATO’s high-readiness forces will be increased almost eightfold from 40,000 to 300,000 troops by next year; battlegroups in the eastern part of the alliance will be enhanced up to brigade levels, with forces pre-assigned to specific locations; and more heavy weapons, logistics and command-and control assets will be pre-positioned.
  • President Biden promised more US troops and weapons to Europe, including a new permanent army HQ in Poland.
  • Long-term support for Ukraine was agreed through a strengthened Comprehensive Assistance Package.
  • New political and practical support for other partners said to be at risk from Russia, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Moldova.
  • A new Strategic Concept for the alliance was approved, setting out priorities, core tasks and approaches for the next decade. The document declared Russia as the “most significant and direct threat” and for the first time addresses the challenges posed by China. It warns of Beijing’s “coercive policies” and its “deepening strategic partnership” with Moscow.
  • Agreement to reduce NATO greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45% by 2030, down to net zero by 2050. The Secretary General released an Assessment Report on the impact of climate change on security.
  • Finland and Sweden were invited to join NATO, after a trilateral memorandum with Turkey assuaged Ankara’s previous objections. The two Nordic countries will become NATO members after the Accession Protocol is ratified by all 30 member states.
  • The launch of a €1 billion Innovation Fund by 22 member states to develop dual-use emerging technologies of priority to NATO over the next 15 years, including: artificial intelligence; big-data processing; quantum-enabled technologies; autonomy; biotechnology and human enhancement; novel materials; energy; propulsion and space.
  • Deepening cooperation with Indo-Pacific partners Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea that participated in a NATO Summit for the first time.
  • New support packages for partners Mauritania and Tunisia.
  • Agreement to invest more in NATO and to increase common funding
  • The next NATO Summit will be held in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2023.
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