NATO leaders to meet for Brussels summit June 14

By: AFP      Published: 06:06 PM, 22 Apr, 2021
NATO leaders to meet for Brussels summit June 14

NATO leaders will hold a summit in Brussels on June 14 to discuss updating the alliance's strategy on key challenges including Russia and China, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday. 

US President Joe Biden is expected to attend on his first official visit to Europe as he looks to reinforce his commitment to Washington's allies after ties were rocked by his predecessor Donald Trump. 

"This is a unique opportunity to reinforce NATO as the enduring embodiment of the bond between Europe and North America," Stoltenberg said in a statement.

"We will take decisions on our substantive and forward-looking NATO 2030 agenda to deal with the challenges of today and tomorrow: Russia's aggressive actions, the threat of terrorism, cyber attacks, emerging and disruptive technologies, the security impact of climate change, and the rise of China."

The last NATO summit in London in 2019 was marked by divisions within the 72-year-old alliance as Trump lambasted some members for not spending enough on defence and then left early.  

Biden is a staunch supporter of NATO and his administration has made a show of consulting more closely with fellow members -- even though it remains keen to see partners boost expenditure. 

This year's meeting will come as the allies are withdrawing their troops from Afghanistan after Biden made the call this month to pull out US forces and end Washington's longest war. 

The US leader took the decision despite fears that it could see Taliban insurgents seize power and undo two-decades of costly efforts aimed at trying to stabilise the war-torn country. 

Stoltenberg is hoping to focus the summit on ambitious proposals to update NATO's approach to a rapidly changing global security environment. 

The alliance -- founded in the wake of WWII to face off against the threat of the Soviet Union -- has found renewed purpose since Russia's 2014 seizure of Crimea and involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. 

But it is also increasingly eyeing how to work together in the face of the growing might of China and adapt to technological advances including cyber attacks and Artificial Intelligence.