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At the NATO Ministerial meeting, broad support for a review process

20.11.2019 - Article

Foreign Minister Maas attended consultations in Brussels with his fellow NATO Foreign Ministers. One item on their agenda was how to generate momentum to further NATO’s political development.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas  at the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels.© Thomas Imo/photothek.net

“For 70 years now, NATO has been Europe’s life insurance. To ensure that it remains so, we need to adapt our Alliance to current challenges and assume greater responsibility within Europe for security policy,”

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said prior to his departure for the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels. Maas said that we must not forget what it is that has made NATO strong for 70 years, namely “its unshakeable cohesion – across the Atlantic.”

“Active policy cells”

However, he added, Allies also need to develop NATO’s policies further.

We need active policy cells – in a process that explores central transatlantic issues. (Foreign Minister Heiko Maas)

In concrete terms, Maas suggested that a high-level expert committee work on a discussion process chaired by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. “We must strengthen the political arm of NATO. Partners should engage more strongly in political coordination,” Maas went on to say.

The idea received broad support among Allies. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will now begin to flesh out the proposal in the run-up to the NATO Summit in London in early December.

Foreign Minister Maas expressed his belief that this may help resolve differences of opinion that have arisen in recent months.

 We must ensure the unity and cohesion of NATO. That is why we must take our current discussions and, in a constructive spirit, turn these into a well-ordered process. And we must make sure that, as we do so, everyone feels included. (Foreign Minister Heiko Maas)

Security in space

Security in space and the peaceful use of space are thus crucial
Security in space and the peaceful use of space are thus crucial© picture alliance/ZUMA Press

Many other topics were also on the agenda, including the future of arms control, NATO’s relations with Russia and security in the Black Sea region.

For the first time, NATO recognised space as a new operational domain, alongside land, sea, air and cyber. Recent years have seen rapid technical advances in space technology.

Large parts of civilian life and strategic infrastructure depend on space infrastructure. Outer space is crucial for early warning systems, communications and navigation. Security in space and the peaceful use of space are thus crucial for us all.

No NATO operations in space

One aim is that NATO missions and operations will receive support from space services such as reconnaissance, navigation and communications. NATO will primarily play a coordinating role in this field, that is, as a forum for discussion on capabilities and information.

NATO will not have its own capabilities in space or deploy weapons systems there. Furthermore, it will not carry out any operations in space.

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