European Security After NATO’s Madrid Summit
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created a very different geopolitical context from that of 25 years ago, when the Spanish capital last hosted a NATO summit. Today, only the political will of Europeans and their leaders will be able to strengthen the continent’s security.
MADRID – At the end of June, 25 years after Madrid last hosted a NATO summit, the Spanish capital will again be the scene of a new chapter in European security. And Europe, for the most part, will have to be the protagonist. Ultimately, the Alliance’s coming gathering must help us Europeans step up and assume our responsibilities with regard to our continent’s security. That is the best and most necessary contribution that Europe can make to NATO’s future.
Today’s geopolitical context is very different from that of a quarter-century ago. At its 1997 Madrid summit, NATO invited three former Warsaw Pact countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland – to join. In addition, following the signing that year of the NATO-Russia Founding Act and the subsequent establishment of the NATO-Russia Council, Europe was looking at a future of unprecedented rapprochement with the Kremlin. Now, of course, little of that optimism remains.
NATO has shown itself to be indispensable for Europe’s security and the best guarantee of their national security for a growing number of countries. One of the most important consequences of the war in Ukraine has been Finland and Sweden’s applications to join NATO – two countries with all the credentials to contribute positively to the Alliance. Following Danish citizens’ recent decision to join the European Union’s defense policy, the institutions that form the basis of European security are becoming increasingly aligned.