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Informal Meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Berlin: launch of NATO’s new Berlin format 

group of NATO Foreign Ministers in front of the Federal Foreign Office

Meeting of the NATO Foreign Ministers in Berlin, © Janine Schmitz / photothek

14.05.2022 - Article

The Foreign Ministers of the 30 NATO member countries are meeting in Berlin today. That means 30 motorcades, 30 flags and a large conference table with 30 seats at the Federal Foreign Office. But for various reasons, this is no ordinary ministerial meeting.

The Berlin format ‒ a new informal meeting format for NATO

This weekend, Germany is hosting a NATO meeting of an informal nature for the first time. The Ministers will meet here in a very small and intimate setting. Instead of following a pre-structured programme, the aim is to hold a more open, direct and interactive exchange.

This will mark the start of a third annual meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers, as agreed by Allies at their most recent summit in June 2021 as part of the NATO 2030 reflection process, which is intended to make NATO fit for the future.

Finland and Sweden as special guests at the meeting

Sweden and Finland have also been invited to attend the talks in Berlin on Saturday. The two countries are on the verge of deciding whether to accede to NATO. Ann Linde, Foreign Minister of Sweden, and Pekka Haavisto, Foreign Minister of Finland, will inform their NATO counterparts about public opinion and the status of discussions in their countries as regards joining NATO. Germany has close ties with Sweden and Finland and would welcome and support their NATO accession should they apply for membership. 

Talks will focus on the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine

The NATO Foreign Ministers’ talks will naturally focus on the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. One aspect of these discussions will be on how further support can be provided to Ukraine to defend itself against this invasion. In addition, the Foreign Ministers will also discuss what conclusions NATO must draw for its own security from Russia’s aggressive conduct.

Final talks on NATO’s new Strategic Concept

NATO’s Strategic Concept will be a further topic at the Informal Meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers. After the North Atlantic Treaty, this concept is the Alliance’s most important policy document. The new Strategic Concept is due to be adopted at the upcoming NATO Summit of Heads of State and Government in Madrid in June. It covers a large number of issues, ranging from NATO’s approach to countries such as Russia, China, and deterrence and defence to other security-related challenges such as cyberattacks, hybrid threats and the nexus between climate change and security.

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