NATO – North Atlantic Council
About the Committee
North Atlantic Council is the most senior political governing body of NATO, thus it has effective political authority and powers of decision. It consists of Permanent Representatives of all member countries meeting together at least once a week. The Council also meets at higher levels involving Foreign Ministers, Defence Ministers or Heads of Government but it has the same authority and powers of decision-making and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets. The Council has an important public profile and issues declarations and communiques explaining the Alliance’s policies and decisions to the general public and to governments of countries which are not members of NATO.
Topic Area A: Energy security and Middle East: a possible partnership?
Energy security has a significant part in the common security of NATO Allies. The disruption of energy supply could affect security within the societies of NATO members and partner countries and have an impact on NATO's military operations. While these issues are primarily the responsibility of national governments, NATO Allies regularly consult on energy security to enhance Allied awareness and resilience. Given the global energy transition, a stable and reliable energy supply remains critically important for increased resilience against political and economic pressure. Partnerships with non-NATO countries and other organizations are crucial and required to reinforce NATO’s energy sector and thus its collective resilience.
Middle East, a region well known for its plentiful reserves of oil and gas has shown in recent years, an increase in efforts supporting renewables meaning that countries in the region are gradually shifting to sustainable alternatives. Considering the ongoing energy crisis due to the Russo-Ukrainian War the need for alternative energy suppliers is greater than ever. Could NATO - Middle East cooperation in that field be achieved? The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) is a partnership forum that aims to contribute to long-term global and regional security by offering non-NATO countries in the broader Middle East region the opportunity to cooperate with NATO. On October 2014 the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence hosted the NATO-ICI Table Top exercise on the “Protection of Critical Energy Infrastructure”, making the first step towards a possible partnership.
Some of the issues arising based on the above-mentioned are how NATO can face the already existing energy problems and cooperate with the middle east in order to serve the interests of its members. Could the Middle East resolve the energy issues that the Euro-Atlantic region faces? If yes, how can the alliance develop a sustainable and efficient partnership program? Are all the NATO members willing to enhance energy cooperation with the Middle East?
Topic Area B: NATO’s Crisis Coordination and Internal Reform.
Due to recent events, NATO’s mechanism of interoperability has come into action, calling upon the existing member’s active cooperation, creating even bodies of immediate action like the NATO-Ukraine Commission. However, at the same time, its Enlargement and Article 10 have been made the central issue, with some partnerships having been postponed and countries like Ukraine having difficulties joining.
Moreover, NATO’s defense spending has been altered drastically as a result of the situation in Ukraine. It has activated its defense plans, which include a larger military presence on its eastern flank and the launch of the NATO Response Force. Because of all this, the possibility of inter-NATO power clashes may occur, which is why it is vital for the Alliance to discuss the future of these transatlantic relations.
Finally, all those factors have caused even discussion among members for the reform of the strategies and the articles that constitute NATO to its very core, such as the Partnership Interoperability Initiative and the Joint Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance struggles to prevail.
How should NATO reform its crisis coordination and have all members onboard? Should internal procedures and officials like Article 10 be reinforced or amended? What is the current response of all members and NATO as a whole to the latest events in the Ukrainian war? How can bodies like the NATO-Ukraine Commission, the Partnership Interoperability Initiative, and the Joint Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance assist?