Nine Heads of State Call on Alliance to ‘Strengthen the Eastern Flank of NATO’

Leaders of nine NATO states meeting in Bucharest, Nov. 4, 2015“We, the Presidents of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Republic of Estonia, Hungary, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic and the President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. ..

Have agreed that:
1. We will continue to act consistently in the spirit of NATO’s unity and solidarity, as well as to strengthen the transatlantic bond, vital for the Alliance, in order to be ready for threats and challenges wherever they arise;

2. In line with the decisions of the Wales Summit and approaching the Warsaw Summit, we will act with other Allies to strengthen the Eastern flank of NATO. The full implementation of the Readiness Action Plan and the long term strategic adaptation of the Alliance, in political, military and institutional dimensions, will be crucial in this respect. Therefore, the Warsaw Summit is the right moment to make decisions on new Allied assurance and adaptation commitments related to NATO procedures, structures, forces and defence infrastructure. Such measures aiming at strengthening our defence and deterrence will adapt the Alliance to the fundamentally changed security environment;

3. We will actively contribute to shaping the Allied strategic response to the long term security threats and risks we jointly face in the East. We will join efforts to secure, where needed, a robust, credible and sustainable Allied military presence in our region;

4. Acknowledging that proper burden-sharing and investment in security and defence are vital to defend values and interests underlying our Euro-Atlantic community, we remain committed to the 2% GDP guideline as per the Wales Defence Investment Pledge, as well as to developing our resilience and defence capabilities in accordance with commitments undertaken within the Alliance;

5. We will continue to support NATO’s open door policy which is one of the Alliance’s great successes. We remain committed to support and assist the aspirant countries in fulfilling their Euro-Atlantic goals;

6. We will promote an increased cooperation with NATO partners, in particular with those in our neighbourhood, making best use of existing instruments. Assisting them in building their resilience against potential threats and their ability to contribute to NATO’s activities is our priority. We support an integrated and truly strategic approach towards these partners;

7. Remaining gravely concerned with Russia’s continuing aggressive posturing, we will stand firm on the need for Russia to return to respect of international law as well as of its international obligations, responsibilities and commitments as a pre-condition for a NATO – Russia relationship based on trust and confidence;

8. We will maintain and intensify our involvement in shaping the common response to the emerging risks, with a special focus on hybrid warfare, cyber defence, energy security and strategic communication;

9. Given the complexity of current threats and challenges, we will advocate the deepening of the NATO-EU cooperation;

We are committed to further use this open platform of consultations and dialogue to promote joint approaches and common projects to the benefit of Euro-Atlantic security.”

Excerpts from Joint Declaration on “Allied Solidarity and Shared Responsibility,” November 4, 2015.

Image: Leaders of nine NATO states meeting in Bucharest, Nov. 4, 2015 (photo: Lithuanian Foreign Ministry)