The House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee has written to Christopher Pincher MP, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, ahead of a NATO Leaders’ Meeting to be held early in December.
This follows two special evidence sessions in October.
According to a release, the witnesses who gave evidence to the Committee were: Daniel Drake, Head of the joint Ministry of Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Euro-Atlantic Security Policy Unit; Madeleine Moon MP, President, NATO Parliamentary Assembly; and Sir Adam Thomson KCMG, Director, European Leadership Network and the UK’s former Permanent Representative to NATO.
Principal issues raised by witnesses include, you can read the full statement here:
- Capability – NATO has identified 21 capability shortfalls, many of which are the result of NATO European members not having the necessary capabilities to contribute to the Alliance’s collective defence. The Committee urges the Government to call on all Allies to improve their own capability and to meet their defence spending commitments.
- Russia and arms control – The Committee was glad to hear from witnesses that NATO has strengthened its position against hostile activity by Russia, including election interference and the 2018 Salisbury attack. The Committee urges the Government to support NATO in continuing its dialogue with Russia regarding both nuclear issues and arms control agreements.
- Turkey – Some of the most pressing political challenges facing NATO concern Turkey, namely it’s closeness to Russia, as demonstrated by the purchase of the S-400 missile system, and its recent offensive in northern Syria. The Committee is calling on the Government to use the NATO meeting in London in December to reiterate that while Turkey is a valued Ally, its actions are not without consequence.
- NATO-EU cooperation – All witnesses saw value in closer cooperation between the Alliance and the European Union. The Committee urges the Government to use the London meeting to reassure its European partners that the UK’s decision to leave the EU does not mean the Government will not continue to support the goal of closer EU-NATO cooperation.
Chair of the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee Baroness Anelay of St Johns said:
“The forthcoming NATO Leaders’ Meeting in the UK presents an opportunity to mark the 70th anniversary of the Alliance, reiterate its value to all Allies, and most importantly to address pressing issues threatening Euro-Atlantic security.
Important recent successes in strengthening NATO notwithstanding, there remain significant challenges for all Allies to overcome. It is critical that the Alliance plugs gaps in capabilities, and that it does so in a way that reduces the unfair burden placed on certain Allies. It is vital that the Alliance does not rest on its work to defend against Russian threats, but also finds a way to strengthen dialogue with Moscow, especially on the issues of strategic stability and arms control.
Finally, the Alliance must ensure that the political divisions between Allies, most pressingly concerning Turkey and the United States, are taken seriously while not being allowed to threaten NATO unity.”
Furthermore, a recent speech by the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, expands upon what is perceived to be Russian aggression. The full speech can be found here, but here’s an excerpt: