Slovenia and Nato
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
NATO is an alliance of 29 countries of Europe and North America (see below). Its basic goal is to protect freedom and security of all its members by political and military means and in compliance with the North Atlantic Treaty and the UN Charter. Ever since its establishment, the Alliance has endeavoured towards a just and peaceful Europe based on the common values of human rights and the rule of law. NATO is also a prominent forum for consultation on security issues of common interest among its member countries and an important pillar of peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.
The basic goals of NATO are summarized by the following fundamental tasks:
- Security: To ensure a stable Euro-Atlantic security environment based on democratic institutions and commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes.
- Consultations: To act pursuant to Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty as the basic transatlantic forum for consultations between the Allies on all issues affecting their vital interests, including potential events that might pose a threat to security of individual members; and for coordination of their endeavours in the areas of common interest.
- Deterrence and defence: To defend any Ally and deter any threat of aggression, as provided for in Articles 5 and 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty.
- Crisis management: To be ready on a case-by-case basis and by reaching consensus to contribute to efficient conflict prevention and active engagement in crises management, including the crisis-response operations, as laid down in Article 7 of the North Atlantic Treaty.
- Partnership: To promote broad partnership, cooperation and dialogue with other countries in the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond, with the aim of promoting transparency, mutual trust and interoperability.
NATO’s mission since its establishment in 1949 has been the collective defence of member countries. The organisation itself, however, has changed according to the interests and needs of the Allies and also according to types of threats. Following the end of the Cold War, the threat of a major war in Europe practically disappeared. New types of threats appeared, such as terrorism, inter-ethnic conflicts, political and economic instability, proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, piracy and others. The expansion of the scope of tasks to these areas requires adaptation and strengthening of capabilities. The 2002 NATO Summit in Prague devoted special attention to improving capabilities (Prague Capabilities Commitment) and to reforming the command structure. The Prague Summit was exceptionally important to Slovenia because an invitation was extended to our country to join the Alliance.
Slovenia attended the Istanbul NATO Summit in June 2004 as a full member of the Alliance for the first time. The Istanbul Summit consolidated the commitments made in Prague, i.e. further transformation of NATO’s military capabilities and their adapting to new security challenges. The Istanbul Summit did not bring any new invitations; nonetheless continuation of NATO’s open-door policy was emphasized. The Summit dealt with the EU takeover of SFOR (December 2004), and adopted the strategy of a more active NATO engagement in Afghanistan, a package of defence measures against terrorism, as well as NATO policy concerning the fight against human trafficking. New impetus was provided for cooperation with the Mediterranean Dialogue countries with the adoption of a new initiative for NATO’s cooperation with countries of the Broader Middle East, the so-called Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. Enhanced cooperation with the European Union, as well as other European countries including Russia and Ukraine, and the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus was agreed upon.
The next NATO Summit was held in Riga in November 2006. On this occasion, Heads of State and Government expressed their support for endeavours to further build the capacities of the Afghan National Army. The Summit also discussed NATO’s presence after the conclusion of negotiations on Kosovo status, while stressing the importance of cooperation with international organisations, particularly the UN and the EU, in rebuilding Kosovo and setting up a democratic system there. The Riga Summit reaffirmed the Alliance’s open-door policy in accordance with Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty. NATO candidate countries – Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia – received a clear message that in 2008 they would receive an invitation to become full NATO members if by then they met all conditions. Heads of State and Government invited Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia to join the Partnership for Peace.
The Summit solemnly declared the NATO Response Force fully operational, and endorsed the publication of the Comprehensive Political Guidance which provides an assessment of the evolving security environment in the next 15 years, and its implications for the Alliance and the development of its capacities required for an effective protection of NATO member countries.
In many aspects, the NATO Bucharest Summit in April 2008 represented a political and operational continuation or upgrade of the Riga Summit, particularly as regards NATO’s response to new security challenges. Albania and Croatia were invited to join the Alliance, while the Summit decided that an invitation would be extended to Macedonia as soon as a commonly acceptable solution on its name issue is reached, and conveyed a clear political message to Ukraine and Georgia on their potential membership. Heads of State and Government invited Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to begin an Intensified Dialogue.
The Summit also reaffirmed NATO’s commitment to operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan, and expressed its support for the Alliance’s greater involvement in partnerships and better response to the security challenges of the 21st century (fight against terrorism, energy security, cyber defence, arms control).
NATO Summit in Strasbourg/Kehl in April 2009 commemorated the 60th anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. The summit was marked by the enlargement of the Alliance with two new member countries, Albania and Croatia, the appointment of Anders Fogh Rasmussen as Secretary General, the French reintegration into NATO military structures, and the Alliance’s decision to start preparing a new Strategic Concept to be approved at the next NATO Summit in Portugal in November 2010.
Heads of State and Government adopted the Declaration on Alliance Security emphasising the commitment to permanent consultations on the security of NATO member countries and the importance of collective defence, based on Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. Their joint declaration stressed the importance of the Alliance and its role in the last 60 years. The declaration assesses all the current Alliance’s operations as successful and emphasises the importance of the comprehensive approach to the settlement of the situation in the areas where NATO is present, as well as the importance of its cooperation with international organisations (UN, OSCE, EU). The declaration committed NATO to pursue an open-door policy and cooperation with the Russian Federation, and highlighted the significance of cooperation within the Euro-Atlantic area. It also lays great emphasis on further transforming and adjusting the Alliance’s capabilities to effectively address the security challenges of the 21st century.
In a special declaration, the Allies evaluated the situation in Afghanistan and adopted measures to improve it.
(NATO member countries include: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States)