Voice of the Flank Security Forum
On November 3, the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) in Bucharest in cooperation with GMF in Warsaw hosted a series of discussion panels within the framework of the Wales to Warsaw project entitled ‘Voice of the Flank Security Forum.’
The Forum preceded the Summit of the Eastern Flank countries hosted by the Presidents of Romania and Poland that took place the next day in preparation for the NATO summit in Warsaw. The discussion focused on the current challenges that the Alliance faces and the transformation necessary to address them. It featured speakers and participants from NATO as well as government and think tank representatives from Europe and the U.S.
The key note address was delivered by Bogdan Aurescu, the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs. He indicated the essential role of NATO’s Eastern Flank and the need for more profound cooperation toward greater stability and security in the region.
The introductory remarks were given by Alexander Vershbow, Deputy Secretary of NATO. He focused on the resulting achievements from Wales and the future goals of the Warsaw Summit.
The first discussion session focused on how NATO has changed in recent times and how it has been evolved from focusing on reassurance to deterrence. Discussants examined NATO’s activities to increase the security in the region following Russian aggression in Ukraine. The second panel brought together experts to discuss the state of play on the Eastern Flank. Experts shared their national perspectives on NATO’s commitment to react in case of military conflict in one of the NATO’s Eastern Flank allies. Panel three touched upon emerging threats on the Eastern Flank such as hybrid, otherwise known as information or legal warfare, and NATO’s added value to tackle them and make the societies more aware of this threat. The last discussion was dedicated to recognizing similarities in both the Black Sea and Baltic Sea regions. Experts recognized the need for deeper NATO- EU cooperation and agreed that there is a lack of common strategy across the region on how to deal with the emerging threat from the East.