At the end of the NATO summit in Madrid this Thursday, the focus is on the fight against terrorism. In the Spanish capital, the main focus should be on dangers emanating from areas south of the alliance. The terror networks al-Qaeda and Islamic State (IS), for example, are active there.
The food crisis triggered by the Ukraine war and the increasing influence of Russia and China, for example on Africa, are also on the agenda.
The conclusion of the NATO summit also marks the end of an unusual series of top-level political meetings that began last week with an EU summit in Brussels. There, Ukraine was officially admitted to the group of EU accession candidates. Then Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) hosted the G7 summit of the economically strongest democracies in Elmau, Bavaria, from Sunday to Tuesday, before the two-day NATO summit began on Wednesday.
Above all, host Spain had insisted that the meeting also deal with the southern neighborhood. Before the meeting, Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles emphasized that the war in Ukraine is also having an impact on countries south of the alliance, such as Somalia, where famine is now raging. In addition, Russia is increasingly present in some countries of the Sahel zone.
On Wednesday, NATO promised the north-west African country of Mauritania support on security issues. According to Stoltenberg, the Allies agreed on a package to build defensive capabilities. The country will be helped to deal with security problems such as border protection, irregular migration and terrorism.
In view of the Russian attack on Ukraine, the 30 NATO countries made groundbreaking decisions on Wednesday, for example to strengthen the eastern flank. Among other things, the number of soldiers on high operational readiness is to be increased from 40,000 to 300,000. Germany wants to contribute at least one division, i.e. 15,000 soldiers. The Bundeswehr should also lead a combat troops brigade with 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers for Lithuania.
After weeks of Turkey’s blockade, the NATO countries also decided to accept Finland and Sweden as new members. In addition, the 30 allies adopted a new strategic concept. It describes Russia as the “greatest and most imminent threat to the security of allies and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area”. China is classified as a challenge.