The leaders of nine countries on the eastern edge of NATO met in Warsaw on June 8 to discuss various issues of common security, and agreed that they remain fully committed to implementing all the initiatives developed as part of NATO’s forward presence on the Eastern flank, as well as the measures adopted so far with the aim of strengthening Allied deterrence and ability to defend collectively all NATO members on land, in the air, at sea, and in the cyber space.
The group, known as the Bucharest Nine, brings together Poland, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and meets every quarter.
This latest meeting, held just a month before the full NATO meeting in Brussels on July 11-12, ended with a joint declaration that outlined the Bucharest Nine’s aims for the Brussels summit:
“The NATO 2018 Summit should further strengthen the Alliance’s unity and, in the spirit of the 360° approach, deliver a comprehensive response to the current security challenges, including against the hybrid threats the Allies are confronted with. In order to ensure coherence across Allied efforts and further improve the Alliance’s overall readiness, we need to build on pivotal decisions made in Wales and Warsaw. Due attention should be given to ensuring a coherent and integrated approach to the defence of the Eastern flank, underpinned by an effective and region-focused NATO Command Structure, reinforced maritime posture, strong air defence and a viable reinforcement strategy. Therefore, increasing readiness and responsiveness of NATO forces and military mobility across of Alliance’s territory is essential for deterrence and defence on the NATO Eastern flank. We remain committed to further progress in this direction.”
The statement also made it clear that NATO must remain firm and united on its stance towards Russia.
“NATO’s approach to Russia based on enhanced deterrence and defence posture, and openness to political dialogue, as decided at the Warsaw Summit, continues to be our policy and the way forward,” reads the Bucharest Nine statement. “The desired results of the dialogue with Russia will be achieved when Moscow returns to fully respecting international law and its international obligations and NATO deterrence and defence is strong.”