On June 21, The German Marshall Fund of the United States Warsaw Office welcomed high-profile guests, the Minister of Defense of Georgia Tinatian Khidasheli, and the Minister of Defense of Macedonia Zoran Jolevski to discuss the expected developments within NATO in the near future in light of the NATO summit in Warsaw, particularly focusing on NATO’s possible enlargement.
During his opening remarks Poland’s Deputy Minister of State, Marek Ziółkowski, reminded the audience of the global significance NATO’s enlargement has – which is simply improving its security. Subsequently, the crucial question, of how to best remain the alliance’s credibility of the open door policy was commented by both Ministers. The Georgian Minister of Defence highlighted the necessity of Georgia being involved in future strategic decisions, in order to foster security and credibility. Her Macedonian colleague pointed out, that the alliance needs to react to changes in the geopolitical situation and ensuing consequences, particularly the refugee crisis in Europe, which had shown how important enlargement is to jointly tackle such issues. Everyone agreed that the reform process needs to continue, however all aspiring states can highlight their significance as a partner by further joining missions and hence contributing to world peace, demonstrating their importance to the alliance. Furthermore, the fatigue of enlargement especially among the present members needs to be overcome – proactive actions need to be preferred over re-active measures, as the panel agreed.
Following questions from the audience, the importance of the upcoming elections in Georgia, the general security and energy situation in the Black Sea, and the possibilities to gain for both members and potential members (peace and skills) were touched upon. Summarising the panel, the Warsaw office director Michał Baranowski underlined that despite some cloudy weather, the countries and the alliance remain stronger together, and that a security vacuum in the respective areas demanded to be filled rather sooner than later.