NATO is continuously adapting to deliver on its core tasks – most importantly, collective defence - and to address the evolving security challenges. Although this work continues on daily basis, the NATO Summits serve as important milestones, which help setting goals for the Alliance at the highest political level and provide an opportunity to review progress regarding implementation of agreed policies. The decisions taken by NATO Heads of State and Government at the recent NATO Summits have played particularly important role for the security of Latvia and the Alliance as a whole, as they have set basis for NATO’s response in light of the changed security environment.

At the meeting in Vilnius, NATO Heads of State and Government demonstrated the unity of the Alliance in terms of values and an iron-clad collective commitment to protecting NATO territory from the first inch, from the first minute.

Latvia’s priorities at the Vilnius Summit were the strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and defence capabilities, as well as a breakthrough in the Ukraine-NATO relations. Those priorities are strongly enshrined in the decision made in Vilnius. The new Regional Defence plans were approved, 2% of GDP was agreed as a minimum investment threshold for Allied security, and concrete decisions were taken on strengthening the Alliance’s air and missile defence and defence industry capacity. The Vilnius Summit marked the next credible step forward in the strengthening of NATO’s Eastern Flank.

Latvia welcomes the decisions taken in Vilnius regarding Ukraine-NATO relations. In the Vilnius Summit Communiqué, the Allies reaffirmed that Ukraine would receive an invitation to join Alliance when conditions are met. The summit agreed to facilitate Ukraine’s eventual accession process to NATO and established a substantial package of political and practical support to bring Ukraine closer to the Alliance. As part of the summit, with the participation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the inaugural meeting of the newly formed NATO-Ukraine Council took place at which the Allies and Ukraine sat as equal partners. The establishment of the Council takes the NATO-Ukraine dialogue to the highest level, strengthening their political and practical cooperation and providing for consultations in various crisis situations.

To support Ukraine practically, the Allies agreed to significantly enhance NATO’s Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP) for Ukraine. Through that mechanism, NATO commits itself to providing Ukraine with non-lethal assistance in the long term in defence planning, development of command-and-control system and promotion of overall interoperability, thus bringing Ukraine closer to the doctrines and standards of NATO forces. The summit decisions are an important signal to Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic perspective. Their practical implementation over the coming years can contribute to Ukraine’s accelerated accession to the Alliance.

The meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 11 and 12 July 2024.

The meeting of NATO leaders in Madrid is marked by the endorsement of NATO’s new Strategic Concept for the next decade, the strengthening of deterrence and defence on the Alliance’s eastern flank, the adoption of the European Union’s Strategic Compass and an invitation to Finland and Sweden to join NATO.

The Strategic Concept reaffirms collective defence guaranteed by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty as a core task for NATO. The concept provides guidelines for NATO to adapt to changes in the global security situation. It identifies Russia as a major threat to Euro-Atlantic security, peace and stability. Terrorism has also been recognised as a continuing threat. Challenges such as China’s impact on international security, the risks posed by the spread of authoritarianism, as well as the impact of new technologies and various types of hybrid threats have been explained. The document underlines the importance of NATO partnerships and the interconnection of global processes, highlighting in particular the partnership with the European Union.

The Madrid decisions reflect a fundamental change in the Alliance’s approach to defending the Allied territory, raising ambition for deterrence and forward defence and rapidly available reinforcements.

It envisages transition from deterrence by punishment to deterrence by denial, an increased amount of higher readiness forces on the ground, and of specific pre-assigned forces, thus increasing NATO’s ability to respond and protect on short notice.

During the Madrid meeting, the Baltic States unilaterally facilitated a collective commitment by the Allies to scale up NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence battlegroups in the Baltics to brigade-size units. This includes the creation of a brigade-level command, supporting elements, and deployment of pre-positioned equipment and ammunition.

At the Madrid meeting, NATO leaders reaffirmed their long-term support for Ukraine and other NATO partners at risk. They also focused on the global food crisis caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Leaders from Australia, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand also attended the Madrid summit for the first time.

The Allies agreed to strengthen resilience and integrate issues such as technological innovation, climate change, human security, and the Women, Peace and Security agenda across the Alliance’s core tasks.

Latvia is actively involved in NATO’ s efforts to develop new technologies in order to provide the necessary innovations for modern defence needs. During the Madrid meeting, Latvia joined the newly-launched NATO Innovation Fund and approved the deployment in Latvia of one of the test centres for NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator. Latvia signed the NATO Innovation Fund Partnership Agreement.

The Madrid meeting reaffirmed commitment by Allies to spending at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence by 2024.

The meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government in Madrid took place on 29 and 30 June 2022.

The March 2022 meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels also focused on Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine.

During the event, the Allies agreed to review NATO’s long-term stand of deterrence and defence across all domains – on land, at sea, in the air, in cyberspace and space.

The extraordinary meeting in Brussels approved the establishment of four new NATO enhanced Forward Presence battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia, in addition to the already existing four battlegroups in the Baltic States and Poland. This strengthens the defence of the Alliance from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

The leaders demonstrated their unity and resolve to oppose Russia’s aggression, to aid the government and the people of Ukraine, and to defend the security of all Allies.

The meeting of NATO heads of State and Government took place in Brussels on 24 March 2022.

NATO leaders unanimously condemned Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, rating it as the gravest threat to Euro-Atlantic security in recent decades, and unanimously asserted their support for Ukraine.

The allies demonstrated readiness to deploy the necessary troops to ensure strong and credible deterrence and defence throughout the Alliance’s territory.

The extraordinary meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government took place on 25 February 2022 via videoconferencing.

NATO leaders reaffirmed the commitment to continue work to strengthen Alliances deterrence and defence. Important decisions were made to increase the readiness of NATO force (NATO Readiness Initiative) and to enhance Alliance’s command structure. At the Summit, Allies agreed on the establishment of Multinational Division Headquarters North in Latvia and Denmark. This was essential further step towards stronger Allied presence and deeper integration of the Baltic region in NATO’s command mechanisms. The Brussels summit also highlighted once again the need to continue efforts towards fairer burden-sharing among NATO Allies. Currently, nine Allies, including Latvia, are investing 2% of GDP in defence. Several other important decisions were taken at the Summit, including on setting up counter-hybrid support teams, launching a new training mission in Iraq and inviting the Republic of North Macedonia for accession talks to become the Alliance’s 30th member.

The main theme of the Summit was continuation of NATO’s adaptation, strengthening collective deterrence and defence in Europe in response to evolving security environment and challenges following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. For Latvia, the most important decision at the Summit pertained to the establishment of NATO enhanced forward presence in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. It was announced that Canada would assume the role of the framework nation in NATO’s multinational battle group in Latvia. At the Summit, the Alliance confirmed its readiness to defend any Ally against all types of security challenges from both the east and the south, and against both conventional and asymmetric threats. The Heads of State and Government agreed to strengthen the Alliance’s resilience against hybrid threats and reaffirmed NATO’s readiness to invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty in response to hybrid threats. Alongside the reinforcement of the collective defence, the leaders reaffirmed that NATO remains open to a political dialogue with Russia. By endorsing a Comprehensive Assistance Package, NATO expressed its strong support to Ukraine. NATO leaders also discussed the security challenges in the south of the Alliance. NATO leaders agreed, inter alia, to strengthen NATO’s role in addressing the risks posed by irregular migration in the Mediterranean, extend Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan beyond 2016, as well as to provide practical support in countering ISIL/Da’esh. At the summit, NATO and the EU leaders signed a declaration expressing determination to strengthen political and practical cooperation between both organizations.