NATO Parliamentary Assembly 6 – 9 October 2023 Copenhagen

Friday, 6 October 2023:

I attended the 69th Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Copenhagen with a cross-party delegation of colleagues from the Commons and the Lords. The first evening was spent with the UK Ambassador, Emma Hopkins, at the British Embassy to discuss issues relating to Denmark.

Saturday, 7 October:

The day started at 8:15 a.m. with the Political group meetings. We agreed on the nominations for Vice-Chairs of the Committees.

The Political Committee proceedings started with the Chair Brendan Boyle (US Delegation) and his opening remarks. We agreed on the draft Agenda. The first report discussed was “The Danish Perspective on Key Security Challenges in the Euro-Atlantic Area and Beyond” with Lars Rasmussen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. I asked what was the prospect of Sweden’s accession from a Danish perspective. The response was that it will happen.

The next report was “NATO priorities post-Vilnius Summit” with Ruben Díaz-Plaja, Senior Policy Advisor at the Policy Planning Unit, part of the Office of the Secretary-General at NATO. I asked whether the Ukraine Nato Council had met and was informed it had met. I also asked about the Centre for Democratic Resilience and whether it had been set up yet and dialogue with other partners such as India. There are 36 partners and was informed that NATO will “think more broadly on how to involve them”. NATO was considering delivery and deliverables such as those used in the mission in Iraq and capacity-building packages such as those for Tunisia.

The next speaker was Colonel Maksym Suprun, former Commander of the Ukrainian 66th Mechanised Brigade, speaking about the Russian war against Ukraine, with a view from the frontline. In the afternoon we discussed “The Long Road to Ukrainian Victory: The Return of War between Industrial Nations and its lessons given by Dr Gustav Gressel, Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. (ECFR). The next report was on “The future of NATO’s Open Door Policy” with Audronius Azubalis, Rapporteur and Head of the Lithuanian Delegation. Rapporteur Ana-Maria Catauta, from the Romanian Delegation, introduced a report on China’s Global Role in the Wake of Russia’s War against Ukraine.

Sunday, 8 October:

At 9:45 am we discussed Russia, China, and the Global South, with a speech by Rachel Rizzo, Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Europe Centre, part of the Atlantic Council.

Lord Hamilton, part of the UK Delegation, presented a report on behalf of Tomas Valasek, Deputy Head of the Slovak Delegation who was involved in the recent elections. The report was titled ‘Russia’s War Against Ukraine: Strategic Imperatives for NATO’.

Then we discussed the draft resolution, presented by Lord Hamilton on behalf of Tomas Valasek, “Delivering on the Vilnius Summit Decisions: Accelerating NATO Adaptation and Supporting Ukraine’. Various amendments were suggested to the report.

In the evening we attended a reception hosted by Mr Søren Gade, Speaker of the Folketing (Parliament of Denmark) at the Royal Reception Rooms, and the guest of honour was HRH The Crown Prince, Frederik.

I am with colleagues, Lord Archie Hamilton, Alun Cairns, Jason McCartney, Lord Donald Anderson and James Sunderland.

Monday, 9 October:

The Plenary of the 69th Annual Session heard from Mr Michal Szczerba, Deputy Head of the Polish Delegation and President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. It was followed by an address by HE Mr Søren Gade, Speaker of the Folketing (Denmark), and HE Ms Mette Frederiksen, the Prime Minister of Denmark, who reaffirmed the commitment to Ukraine for as long as it takes.

Mr Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, also addressed the Plenary via videolink, and he set out their current position and why NATO must continue to support Ukraine. This was followed by an address by HE Mr Ruslan Stefanchuk, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Ukrainian Parliament).

Deputy Secretary General of NATO, Mircea Geoana, addressed the Plenary, and this was followed by a Q&A session.

Later, all the draft resolutions were agreed and they can be found on the NATO Parliamentary Assembly website.