Memberships Revisited: Integration into NATO’s New Strategic Framework     Print
Monday, 08 December 2008

The seminar focused on how France, Sweden, Finland and Austria envisage their future cooperation with NATO in the new strategic framework. Although not members, these countries have made significant contributions to NATO operations and have developed partnerships with the alliance; however, except for France, they do not plan to join NATO in the near future. Col. Jean-Baptiste Minjoulat-Rey, Military Attaché, Embassy of France outlined France’s position, saying that France plans to contribute both to EU defense and to NATO. Brig. Gen. Peter Resch, Defense, Military, Naval and Air Attaché, Embassy of Austria foresees NATO promoting common standards and procedures not only to NATO members but also to states prepared to deal with NATO. Capt. Jaakko Savisaari, Defense, Military, Naval and Air Attaché, Embassy of Finland, emphasized that Finland’s policy for the future will be to maintain an independent credible national defense; and to be as close to NATO as possible without being a member. Antonella Cerasino, Head of the Countries Section, noted that as NATO’s faces new challenges, partnerships will be central in the new strategic concept. There will be revisions on how NATO and its partners can work more closely together, how to involve in the decision-making process non-member countries that contribute to operations and need to have a say. The meeting concluded with presentations by H.E. Jonas Hafström, Ambassador of Sweden and Kurt Volker, U.S. Ambassador to NATO. Amb. Hafström outlined Swedish foreign and security policy, its relations with NATO, and its role in the EU. Amb. Volker discussed NATO’s current concerns and the top five tasks it must tackle over the next couple of years. These are: Rebuild a sense that the US and Europe form a single community, getting Afghanistan on track, agreeing about the issues of Russia and Eastern Europe, finishing the job in the Balkans, and getting NATO to focus on the challenges of the future. The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Robert Hunter, Senior Advisor, RAND Corporation and former U.S. Ambassador to NATO.