NATO Defence Ministers will meet in Brussels this week (26-27 June 2019) to take decisions to continue modernising the Alliance. Ahead of the two-day meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg outlined the key topics for discussion, including Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, progress on burden sharing, NATO’s defence and deterrence posture, new technologies and NATO’s mission in Afghanistan.
Ministers will discuss progress on fairer burden sharing within the Alliance. “Today, we are releasing for the first time figures for 2019 defence spending and I can announce that the real increase for 2019 is 3.9% across European Allies and Canada,” said the Secretary General. He underlined that Allies have stepped up with five consecutive years of growth in defence spending. “By the end of next year, European Allies and Canada will have added a cumulative total of well over one hundred billion dollars since 2016,” he said. Allies are also investing more in new capabilities and stepping up with more forces for NATO missions and operations.
On Wednesday (26 June 2019), ministers will address Russia’s continuing violation of the INF Treaty. “We call on Russia to take the responsible path,” said the Secretary General, adding that Allies are planning to hold a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council next week to raise this issue again. Ministers are expected to decide on NATO’s next steps, in the event Russia does not return to full and verifiable compliance with the INF Treaty.
Ministers will also discuss the security implications of new technologies, together with EU High Representative / Vice President Federica Mogherini and counterparts from Finland and Sweden. “These technologies raise challenges and opportunities for us all, and this could be a promising area for future NATO-EU cooperation,” said the Secretary General.
On Thursday (27 June 2019), ministers will address the implementation of NATO’s strengthened deterrence and defence posture, including the NATO Readiness Initiative. Ministers are also expected to approve NATO’s first overarching space policy. “NATO can serve as a key forum, bringing Allies together to share capabilities and information,” said the Secretary General.
Afghanistan will also be high on the agenda, with a meeting of all nations contributing to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission. “While the security situation remains serious, we see a unique opportunity for peace,” said the Secretary General. NATO Allies fully support U.S. efforts to reach a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan, and the Alliance’s continued commitment, both with forces and funding, is key to creating the conditions for peace.