World news story

British Ambassador to Poland speaks about the future of NATO

Ambassador Robin Barnett delivered a speech at a conference held on 10 May.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The panel with Ambassador Robin Barnett (photo by the Institute of Strategic Studies)

Organised by the Institute for Strategic Studies in Kraków, the conference brought together prominent Polish decision-makers as well as independent experts and delivered a useful debate.

In his speech, Ambassador Barnett maintained that the question of collective defence versus crisis management was a false dichotomy. Instead, NATO needed to be prepared for all reasonable contingencies, whether they were of a conventional or unconventional nature or occurred on allied territory, at NATO borders or beyond. This required NATO allies to invest in agile, adaptable and rapidly deployable capabilities as well as possess the political will to act when necessary.

Ambassador Barnett added that in an uncertain and interconnected world, NATO needed to reform to remain ready and relevant. Nonetheless, he stressed that some Alliance fundamentals would not change. This included the vital importance of Article 5, UK commitment to Article 5 and NATO overall as well as the deep significance of the transatlantic partnership.

As part of the UK’s broader engagement on European security, Ambassador Barnett also reiterated the UK’s ongoing commitment to an active and operationally focussed Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) that complements NATO.

Published 13 May 2013