June 28, 2024

The Washington Summit: NATO and the Baltic Region

A German Navy sailor looks for possible threats during a drill in BALTOPS 23.
A German Navy sailor looks for possible threats during a drill in BALTOPS 23.

NATO heads of state and government will gather in Washington on 9-11 July to mark the Alliance’s 75th anniversary. While a third year of full-scale war rages in Europe, they will need to guard the tone of their celebrations. But it would be remiss of the Allies not to recognise the importance and success of their organisation. NATO remains the essential transatlantic forum. It has had huge positive impact on security in Europe and elsewhere, built shared understanding and purpose among a growing number of members, and successfully adapted to decades of changing circumstances. There is much to applaud.

But there is also work to be done. The summit’s main business will concern Ukraine, defence and deterrence, and burden-sharing. While there are unlikely to be big announcements, the summit should play a significant role in ensuring that the decisions taken in Madrid in 2022, and Vilnius in 2023 are properly implemented. This series of briefs examines some of the key issues for the Washington Summit.

In the second brief of the series, Toms Rostoks focuses on NATO’s role in defence and deterrence in the Baltic region. There has been good progress through the steps taken by the Baltic states and by their Allies, but substantial shortcomings remain in the Alliance’s posture on the north-east flank. The Baltic region thus remains a vulnerability for NATO.

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