The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), hosted a panel discussion in Berlin entitled “From Wales to Warsaw: Priorities for the NATO 2016 Summit.” The discussion was moderated by Markus Ziener, a fellow at GMF. Sudha David-Wilp, senior transatlantic fellow and deputy director of GMF’s Berlin Office opened the discussion with welcoming remarks.
The first speaker, Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, began by laying out the diverse challenges facing NATO today, such as the issue of Ukraine and the difficulties of reconciling today’s complicated security situation with Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which calls for collective defense in the case of a NATO member being attacked. She also remarked on the fact that the “Big Three” European members of NATO, namely the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, are not looking in the same direction when it comes to determining NATO policy. The U.K. is increasingly looking outside of Europe; France is facing great economic challenges; and Germany is currently in the middle of a debate regarding its own role and responsibilities within NATO.
The second speaker, Ambassador Matthew Bryza, continued by addressing the topic of Russia, as well as the issue of Turkey and its role in the NATO security structure. He made the point that although Russia is not a NATO member, it is still an important partner in solving security problems. Regarding Turkey, he remarked that, although it sometimes may have an outsized view of its own strategic importance, it is nonetheless an important member of NATO. He also discussed the importance of the 2% of GDP spending target within NATO, and the importance that Eastern European NATO members, who are striving much harder than their Western European counterparts to reach that target, could gain at the upcoming NATO summit.
The discussion was held in the Bundestag, and lawmakers and think tank representatives participated in a Q&A session with the panel after the speakers’ remarks.