Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine is making abundantly clear that it is NATO that guarantees our security. The organisation which brings security to almost a billion citizens in NATO countries is to consider what the Alliance can do to perform even better here. The Summit will adopt three new regional defence plans to this end.
The agreement on NATO defence spending reached in Wales in 2014 expires this year. In Vilnius, the Alliance partners will agree even more ambitious targets. Every year, at least 2% of GDP is to be invested in defence. The partners are well on track. The defence spending of the European Alliance partners and Canada increased by 8.3% in real terms in 2023. In its National Security Strategy, Germany has committed to spending an average of at least 2% of GDP on defence.
NATO-Ukraine partnership the focus of the Summit
Drawing Ukraine closer to the Alliance will be a central focus, with the Summit launching a support programme to last several years. The aim is to make it easier to cooperate with NATO forces. Interoperability is the term the experts use. Furthermore, the Alliance is to take political relations with Ukraine to a new level. The new NATO-Ukraine Council is to meet for the first time. At this Council, members from NATO and Ukraine will sit around the table as equal partners and together define the working programme and the agenda. Meeting frequently – at least four times a year – they will talk as equals about how to further develop the partnership.
The Heads of State and Government of Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea will also attend a meeting at the Vilnius Summit. European Union leaders will also be present. This meeting is designed to foster exchange with partners on issues concerning resilience in the widest sense. The EU is one of NATO’s strategic partners here. The two organisations complement one another in the fields of cyber and hybrid threats, as well as energy security.
Lithuania hosting a NATO Summit for the first time
Lithuania has been a member of NATO for almost two decades and is this year hosting its first NATO Summit.
This is the first Summit with Finland as a NATO partner. Swedish accession has not yet been completed as ratification is still pending in Turkey and Hungary. Sweden will however be in the meeting room as an “invitee”. The Federal Government advocates rapid accession.