Strengthening NATO Relations with Ukraine
NATO-Ukraine relations date back to the early 1990s and have grown to become one of the most important partnerships for NATO. The 1997 Charter on a Distinctive Partnership established the Nato-Ukraine Commission (NUC) which has helped to further cooperation, as well as institute specific actions that relate to the partnership. In the wake of the Ukraine crisis, NATO has reacted with intensified political and practical support. Amongst others, NATO has strengthened existing cooperation programmes on defence education and security sector governance. Furthermore, NATO has created substantial new programmes in respect to key issues, such as cyber defence or defence and security sector reform. However, NATO has till now avoided the deployment of troops and has thus refrained from escalating the conflict. In this context, delegates are expected to discuss if and how the existing relations with Ukraine should be intensified and to address the question of a potential NATO membership.
The North Atlantic Council (NAC) consists of all NATO member states and has effective political authority and powers of decision. Permanent Representatives of all member countries meet together at least once a week. The Council also meets at higher levels involving Foreign Ministers, Defense Ministers or Heads of Government but it has the same authority and powers of decision-making and its decisions have the same status and validity, at whatever level it meets. The Council has an important public profile and issues declarations and communiqués explaining the Alliance’s policies and decisions to the general public and to governments of countries which are not members of NATO. The Council is the only body within the Alliance which derives its authority explicitly from the North Atlantic Treaty.