Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Outcome of the NATO Summit in Lisbon

Delivered in Plenary - 15th December 2010

Madam President

NATO remains a fundamental element of Europe’s collective security and so does the bridge it builds with America. At the Lisbon Summit, NATO redefined its place at the heart of the Euro-Atlantic security architecture for its new strategic concept.

My role as Vice-Chair of this Parliament’s delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly has made me more convinced than ever of the value of NATO and of EU cooperation with it. I am full of admiration for the work of NATO ISAF troops in Afghanistan but regret the lack of participation by some of our allies with restrictive caveats on military engagement, in a situation where defeat, or cutting and running prematurely on the part of NATO, would have incalculable consequences for Western security and for lasting peace in the region – destabilising Pakistan in particular. Even at a time of austerity, when many Member States are cutting their defence budgets, winning in Afghanistan must be our priority.

I was also recently in Kosovo, where I saw for myself the valuable work being undertaken by NATO troops in KFOR. NATO’s operation Ocean Shield is working well off the coast of Somalia to combat piracy, although it is in danger of duplicating the work of the larger EU Common Security and Defence Policy mission Atalanta. I welcome coordination between the two.

I also support NATO enlargement to Georgia and Ukraine one day. The Cold War is now gone and the threats we face are increasingly asymmetric and global. I welcome the new approach by NATO of looking at the broader picture, from cyber security to the threats posed by climate change and food security, but the rationale for NATO is as strong today as it ever was when the organisation was first founded 61 years ago.