Safety and security, cyber era, modern deterrence, the safety of borders, the situation in Ukraine and the tasks of NATO were among the topics discussed at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly meeting held in Bratislava on May 31-June 3.
There were more than 650 delegates of NATO countries and other guests from Iraq and Afghanistan, for example.
Gajdoš: It takes time to disengage from old Russian technology
The June 1 talks were opened by the chairs of three committees: defence and security, economy and security, and science and technology.
The participants in the first committee discussed, among other things, modern deterrence, the abolition of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and the security situation in the northern Atlantic.
Slovakia has a clear pro-Atlantic and pro-EU orientation, said Slovak Defence Minister Peter Gajdoš (the Slovak National Party).
“NATO is a tool for displaying unity in both Europe and the trans-Atlantic area,” Gajdoš said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
As for relations between the EU and NATO, the defence minister claimed that what is good for the EU is also good for NATO, pointing to common challenges, including cyber-security, hybrid warfare, the need to secure NATO’s eastern wing, modernising the military, forming a heavy mechanised brigade and the introduction of 5G networks.
He also commented on the disposal of old Soviet and Russian military equipment, claiming that it will take some time for Slovakia to disengage itself from it, as reported by TASR.
Parízek on Slovakia’s OSCE presidency
The second committee discussed the economy populism, on which commented Eric Jones. Jones is a Professor of European Studies and International Political Economy as well as the Director of European and Eurasian Studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Senior Research Associate at the Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI) in Milan.
The third committee featured a speech by Lukáš Parízek, Slovakia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry’s state secretary and the country’s special representative for its Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) presidency this year.
He described the OSCE as the only platform for effective dialogue between the West and Russia, TASR reported.
Conflict in Ukraine discussed
Hybrid wars and cyber threats are becoming increasingly more dangerous, and their aim is to undermine people’s confidence in democratic principles, said Foreign Affairs Ministry’s State Secretary František Ružička on June 3.
With this in mind, he emphasised the importance of defining a vision and strategy for the fight against hybrid threats from Slovakia’s perspective as well.
He also commented on the current situation in Ukraine. He and OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre’s head, Marcel Peško, agreed that to solve the crisis a dialogue is necessary, as reported by TASR.
“We think that several signals sent by the newly elected president in connection with how he wants to handle relations with Russia are promising,” Ružička said, as quoted by TASR, adding that he hopes there will be a dialogue.
At the same time, it is important to keep a clear attitude to Russia. He also considers dialogue with Russia crucial.
Kiska: No reason for there not to be a military Schengen
While Russia can deploy its armed forces within hours and days, it often takes days to weeks for the western community. A solution to this problem could be to have a similar model in the military area as with the free movement of persons, goods, capital and services, said President Andrej Kiska on June 4.
“I see no reason why there should not be a military Schengen,” Kiska added, as quoted by the SITA newswire.
Slovakia is a member of NATO, which it can rely on, said the president. He added that he saw with his own eyes in Georgia or Ukraine that life at peace is not a matter of course. At the same time, he admitted that not all European states spend enough money on defence. Even the best defence plans need enough resources to be implemented, the president added, as reported by SITA.
Interior Minister Denisa Saková (Smer) spoke on the same day, saying that the security environment is changing every day and the borders between civilian and military threats are disappearing. This is why the countries and NATO need to be ready to respond to such challenges, she added, as reported by TASR.
Saková also stressed the need for prevention and the awareness of citizens.