11 October 2023
The Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 6-9 October 2023. More than 250 members of lawmakers from the 31-member states and 20 partners parliaments discussed a range of transatlantic security issues, examined the outcomes of NATO’s Vilnius Summit in July and adopted further recommendations for NATO’s adaptation. The Assembly hailed the “biggest ramp up of collective defence in the Euro-Atlantic area in decades” and appealed to member states to continue to boost budgets and arms production.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the Assembly via video-link, which in turn sent a strong message urging allied governments to “stand by Ukraine until victory is achieved”. Polish lawmaker Michal Szczerba, who was elected as President of the NATO PA in Copenhagen, said “We must – again and again – reaffirm our firm support for Ukraine, its democracy, independence and sovereignty; its right to self-defence and self-determination”. The legislators also condemned the violence in Israel and awarded the Women for Peace and Security Award to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of democratic forces in Belarus.
NATO has long recognised the importance of parliamentarians in supporting its work, and the independent NATO PA, which was formed in 1955 consists of 274 delegates from the 31 NATO member states. Each delegation is based on the country’s size. In addition to delegations from NATO member states, delegates from associate countries and parliamentary observer delegations take part in Assembly activities and bring the total number of delegates to approximately 330.
Through its discussions and meetings, the assembly helps to promote transatlantic solidarity in the various legislative assemblies and to further the aims and values of NATO. However, its policy recommendations have little more than an advisory status within NATO, and it has no formal mechanism for holding NATO accountable. During the annual session, members adopted 16 draft reports (see box 2) in the Assembly’s five Committees (Civil Dimension of Security; Defence and Security; Economics and Security; Political; and Science and Technology) and six resolutions distilling the NATO PA’s policy recommendations (see box 1).
One the of the Assembly’s key goals is for a Centre for Democratic Resilience to be set up at NATO headquarters – NATO currently has no unique structure dedicated to democratic resilience. NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana said that he and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg “are doing everything we can to enlarge consensus” for the Centre to be set up.
Box 1. Resolutions adopted:
Resolution 483 - Protecting Allied Democracies and Partners from Disinformation, Committee on Democracy and Security, 9 October 2023
Resolution 484 - Implementing NATO’s New Deterrence and Defence Baseline, Defence and Security Committee, 9 October 2023
Resolution 485 - Strengthening Stability and Security in the Black Sea Region, Defence and Security Committee, 9 October 2023
Resolution 486 - Towards the Reconstruction of Ukraine, Economics and Security Committee, 9 October 2023
Resolution 487 - Delivering on the Vilnius Summit Decision, Political Committee, 9 October 2023
Resolution 488 - Enhancing the Protection of Allied Critical Maritime Infrastructure, Science and Technology Committee, 9 October 2023
Box 2: Reports discussed:
The Russian War on Truth: Defending Allied and Partner Democracies Against the Kremlin’s Disinformation Campaigns, Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam (France) - Draft General Report, 15 September 2023
Russia's War Against Ukraine: Strategic Imperatives for NATO, Tomas Valasek (Slovakia) - Draft General Report, 13 September 2023
Towards the Reconstruction of Ukraine, Michal Szczerba (Poland) - Draft Report, 12 September 2023
Novel Materials and Additive Manufacturing, Sven Clement (Luxembourg) - Draft Special Report, 12 September 2023
Troubled Waters – How Russia’s War in Ukraine Changes Black Sea Security, Lord Mark Lancaster (United Kingdom) - Draft Report, 8 September 2023
Developing Future Capabilities: Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Joe Weingarten (Germany) - Draft Report, 8 September 2023
Ukraine's Fight for Freedom & Allied and Global Response to Russia's War, Rick Larsen (United States) - Draft Special Report, 8 September 2023
Rebuilding Transatlantic Economic Relations and Resilience, Faik Oztrak (Türkiye) - Draft Report, 8 September 2023
Sea Change: The Rapid Evolution of Baltic Security After Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, Jeroen Van Wijngaarden (Netherlands) - Draft Report, 8 September 2023
Ensuring an Allied Defence Industrial Base for NATO’s New Deterrence and Defence Baseline, Utku Cakirozer (Türkiye) - Draft General Report, 1 September 2023
Protecting Critical Maritime Infrastructure – The Role of Technology, Njall Trausti Fridbertsson (Iceland) - Draft General Report, 31 August 2023
The Future of NATO’s Open Door Policy, Audronius Azubalis (Lithuania) - Draft Report, 28 August 2023
China's Global Role in the Wake of Russia's War Against Ukraine, Ana-Maria Catauta (Romania) - Draft Report, 18 August 2023
Russia’s War on Ukraine and Transatlantic Energy Security Challenges, Harriett Baldwin (United Kingdom) - Draft General Report, 17 August 2023
Food Security and Conflict: Harvesting Resilience in the Face of a Global Crisis, Julie Dzerowicz (Canada) - Draft Special Report, 4 August 2023
Fighting Impunity for Violations of International Law in Russia’s Renewed Invasion of Ukraine, Rodrigue Demeuse (Belgium) - Draft Report, 13 July 2023