Informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Oslo: getting ready for the summit in Vilnius

Informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Oslo

Informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Oslo, © NATO

31.05.2023 - Article

On 31 May and 1 June, the NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs will be meeting in Oslo. Their agenda will focus on getting ready for the summit in Vilnius in early July. This, however, is no ordinary ministerial meeting.

Annalena Baerbock talking to Sweden's Foreign Minister Tobias Billström
Annalena Baerbock talking to Sweden's Foreign Minister Tobias Billström© Florian Gaertner

Norway is only the second country to host a NATO meeting of an informal nature. The Ministers will meet here in a very small and confidential setting. Instead of a pre-structured programme, the plan is to enable a more open, direct and interactive exchange. In concrete terms, this means that only Ministers will be in the room, without their advisors. No prepared statements will be read; instead, Ministers will engage in discourse and discussions and have a genuine debate. Foreign Minister Baerbock emphasised:

I am pleased that Norway has taken up the baton of this still young tradition of conducting an informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers, which Germany established only last year. Like at last year’s meeting in Berlin, our task in Oslo will be to prepare for the upcoming NATO Summit of the Heads of State and Government, by getting an overview of the current security policy situation and jointly addressing the core strategic issues facing the North Atlantic Alliance.

Topics to be addressed at the meeting: drawing the relevant conclusions from the war of aggression against Ukraine

The main focus of the discussions of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs will be preparing for the Vilnius Summit in early July. One key topic will be further development of NATO’s partnership with Ukraine. Ministers will also look at how to continue supporting Ukraine’s defensive efforts and its fight for peace against Russia’s attack, which has lasted for more than 450 days so far.

Another issue will be what conclusions NATO must draw for its own security from Russia’s aggressive conduct. NATO is the key pillar for Euro-Atlantic security.

„That is why, in Oslo, we will also talk about how we can resolutely strengthen NATO’s capabilities for defence and deterrence – not only for today and tomorrow, but for the coming years, so that people everywhere in our Alliance can enjoy security,“ the Foreign Minister said ahead of the meeting. In this connection, Ministers will discuss reaffirming what is known as the Defence Investment Pledge, as well as how to strengthen the resilience of critical infrastructure in the Alliance. This includes, for example, critical undersea infrastructure.

Ratification of Sweden’s membership still needed from Turkey and Hungary

There is little time to obtain ratification so that Sweden can join the Alliance prior to the Vilnius Summit in early July. Hungary has repeatedly declared that it will ratify before Turkey does, as soon as the required steps have been taken there. Now that Turkey’s new parliament has been formed, there is the opportunity to swiftly bring before it a motion to ratify Sweden’s accession to NATO.

Foreign Minister Baerbock made the following comments on this before her departure:

We have taken a tremendous step towards strengthening the Alliance with Finland becoming its 31st member. The next logical step is now for Sweden to join – as we all mutually agreed at the last NATO Summit in Madrid. It remains the aim of the Federal Government for the Vilnius Summit to have 32 Allies seated at the table.


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