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NATO at 75: Alliance Celebrates Anniversary with Eye on Ukraine and the Future

July 3, 20242:41

As NATO leaders gather in Washington for the historic summit marking the alliance's 75th anniversary, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has identified three primary agenda items: bolstering allied defense and deterrence; support for Ukraine; and strengthening NATO's global partnerships. 

The Chair of the Wilson Center's Global Europe Program, Ambassador (ret.) Philip T. Reeker, provides an overview of the summit. He covers the agenda, the importance of partnerships with countries in the Indo-Pacific and the Middle East, the focus on funding, and the upcoming transition in NATO leadership from Jens Stoltenberg to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Video Transcript

  • This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

    This summit will be the first occasion for NATO's two newest allies to participate. Sweden and Finland, of course, have, joined the alliance. Finland is the 31st. Sweden is the 32nd ally. And so their heads of government will come to Washington with the others, and the invited guests.

     Assistance to Ukraine will be front and center on the agenda, for this NATO summit, and the commitment that NATO's doors remained open. The United States has worked with allies and partners in preparing a package of support to satisfy the NATO ambitions of Ukraine, even short of an invitation at this summit to remind the world and, of course, its members, that NATO is an alliance of members dedicated to a shared set of values. 

    Partnership will be a crucial element of discussion at this NATO summit. NATO and its 32 allies protect their interests, and the security of one another. But it also relies increasingly on partnerships around the globe. That includes with the European Union, with the United Nations, and, of course, with countries in the Indo-Pacific: Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand. They will have heads of government present and participating at this conference, along with NATO allies and also representatives from countries across the Mediterranean, and in the Middle East, where NATO recognizes that conflicts and security threats in those areas can affect the NATO area. 

    And, of course, there will be a focus on funding. 23 of NATO's 32 allies are now meeting the goal of spending at least 2% of each member's gross domestic product on defense. A tremendous movement in the last few years on that. And we'll see the selection announcement coming into office of a new secretary general, Mark Rutte, a former prime minister of the Netherlands, will take over after a decade from secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, who has seen the alliance through a tremendous period of, of change, including, the reemergence of a strong threat from Russia under Vladimir Putin.


Philip Reeker, Chair of the Global Europe Program

Philip Reeker

Chair, Global Europe Program;
Albright Stonebridge Group, Department of State (ret.)
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Global Europe Program

The Global Europe Program is focused on Europe’s capabilities, and how it engages on critical global issues.  We investigate European approaches to critical global issues. We examine Europe’s relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Our initiatives include “Ukraine in Europe” – an examination of what it will take to make Ukraine’s European future a reality.  But we also examine the role of NATO, the European Union and the OSCE, Europe’s energy security, transatlantic trade disputes, and challenges to democracy. The Global Europe Program’s staff, scholars-in-residence, and Global Fellows participate in seminars, policy study groups, and international conferences to provide analytical recommendations to policy makers and the media.  Read more