The highlight of the NATO Summit in Madrid on 29–30 June was supposed to be the adoption of the new Strategic Concept, a key policy document defining the security challenges facing the Alliance and outlining how the organization will address them over the coming decade. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February reshuffled priorities and brought a new sense of urgency to the European security debate.
Responding to the threat from Moscow, the preparedness, strength and unity of the Alliance have taken on greater importance. The current war is forcing a rethink of the continent’s security architecture, with the likely inclusion of Sweden and Finland as new NATO members over the coming year – if internal tensions within the Alliance can be resolved. The war in Ukraine is also shedding light on Europe’s enduring capability gaps and its reliance on US assets for collective deterrence and defence.
Facing a multitude of challenges, how NATO reacts today will determine its role and resilience over the next decade and beyond. Allies need to strike a careful balance between adequately responding to the growing instability on the Eastern Flank while still addressing other concerns, from rethinking the post-Afghanistan crisis management mandate to dealing with challenges linked to new technologies or the rise of China.
Participants will discuss what to expect from the upcoming summit in Madrid and debate the Alliance’s main challenges and options going forward, with a particular focus on the UK’s role in NATO.
Key questions to be covered include:
• To what extent has the Russian invasion of Ukraine shifted NATO’s priorities?
• What is likely to be agreed upon at the Summit? What are the prospects for Sweden and Finland joining NATO?
• How united is the Alliance today? Has the war in Ukraine changed Turkey’s role in the alliance?
• How should NATO balance the threat from Russia and other security challenges going forward? Can it deliver its ambitious NATO 2030 agenda?
• Has the war in Ukraine changed the UK’s role in NATO?