On Tuesday 1 June, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sophie Wilmès, participated in a video conference at the NATO Foreign Affairs Ministerial meeting, which sought to prepare the discussions of the Summit of Heads of State and Government on 14 June in Brussels, and in particular the actions that will be implemented within the framework of the NATO 2030 initiative to strengthen the alliance and prepare it for the security challenges of the future. As a reminder, last March, Belgium, along with other Alliance members, specifically requested that an additional ministerial meeting be held prior to this summit to refine the proposals that would be put on the table. These proposals will open a new chapter in transatlantic relations and aim in particular to strengthen political consultation between the allies.

For Deputy Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès, “The upcoming summit is in a way the culmination of a long process that began in London in 2019. The reflection process met our requirements in terms of seriousness and rigour. There was wide-ranging consultation, which was also a good thing. The priority now for Belgium is for NATO to be able to send a message of unity and cohesion among the Allies in two weeks’ time.” She continued, “The defence of the Euro-Atlantic area, which is as fundamental as ever, and the emergence of new challenges and new security threats call for this union. The proposals on the table are not yet final. However, they are ambitious and it will be up to each country to express its views on them on 14 June. As far as Belgium is concerned, overall we believe that we are moving in the right direction, although we will have to ensure that the budgetary impact is optimised.”

Several topical issues were also discussed. On Afghanistan, Belgium recalled the importance it attaches to the ongoing deliberations on Alliance support with a view to preserving the gains made in recent years.   The subject of Belarus was also raised, in view of the latest developments. Consistent with its visit to the Donbas last May, Belgium called for a continued high level of vigilance with regard to the situation in Ukraine, and the Black Sea region more generally. Finally, Belgium will be paying close attention to the conclusions of the summit between the United States and Russia, which is scheduled for 16 June, and in particular to the issues of arms control and the security architecture on the European continent.