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The spring session of the NATO PA in Bratislava came together at the convergence of three significant anniversaries – NATO’s 70thanniversary, the 15thanniversary of Slovakia’s membership in Nato and also 15 years Slovakia hosted its first NATO PA session, just two months after its official accession to NATO, stated Madeleine Moon, NATO PA President.

Over 300 parliamentarians from 28 NATO member countries from North America and Europe, and delegates from partner countries were discussing a broad range of issues that are of central importance for the Alliance and its nations. The spring session also included issues such as the relations with Russia, the impact of the rise of China, the future of arms control, artificial intelligence as well as cyber security and defence. EUROMIL was one of the few observers and monitored two of the NATO PA’s Committees.

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Defence and Security Comittee

The Defence and Security Committee (DSC) was held on Saturday 1 June 2019. The NATO PA spring session is organised with a view on preparing reports for the autumn session through an agenda full of presentations on interesting issues and draft documents.

In his speech Minister Gajdoš paid a lot of attention to the issue of the modernization of the Slovak armed forces and the increase of salaries of military personnel by an average of 30 %.

The DSC rapporteurs also presented three draft reports on “Nuclear deterrence”, “Security in the North Atlantic” and “Evolution and lessons learned of NATO exercises”. These reports will be further discussed and amended to be submitted for the final discussion and approval at the autumn meeting. Finally, three presentations – on “Modern Deterrence”, “The Demise of the INF” and “Afghanistan 2019” – opened large debates amongst the PA’s participants.

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Political Committee

The Political Committee (PC) under chairmanship of Lord Campbell of Pittenween (UK) gathered on Sunday 2 June 2019.

State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic addressed the PC saying that they are stronger when they stand together, and that freedom & democracy are the corner stones. In his speech, the State Secretary also addresses the modernisation of the Slovak armed forces and their preparation for the broad range of threats. The first draft report was presented by the rapporteur Gerald E. Connolly (US) on “NATO at 70”. As NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2019, it is worthwhile to celebrate its achievements and consider its future trajectory.  The latter is of importance as the Alliance is facing the most complex security environment in its history, defined by both external and internal challenges.

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Plenary session

The plenary session on Monday 3 June was opened by NATO PA President Moon, who focused in her speech mainly on the 70th anniversary of NATO. Education and communication on NATO and its values is key, Mrs. Moon emphasized. Later several Slovak high-level speakers, such as the Slovak President Andrej Kiska, took the floor to highlight the developments in Slovakia and their role in NATO. President Kiska pointed out that members of parliament should take their responsibility.

The Deputy Speaker of the National Council on his turn, said that Slovakia will reach the 2 % norm two years earlier than foreseen in 2022 instead of 2024.