July 17, 2023
ASG Analysis: Europe's Hottest Club is in Vilnius — Outcomes from the NATO Summit
- Despite differences in the leadup to the NATO Vilnius summit primarily between Central and Eastern European allies, on one side, and the United States and Germany, on the other, regarding Ukraine’s potential NATO membership, the alliance agreed on a compromise that allowed leaders to project unity and spin the summit as a success.
- While Ukraine’s NATO membership path is unclear while the war is ongoing, NATO allies reiterated commitment to Ukraine’s membership aspirations. In a separate communiqué on the sidelines of the summit, the G7 committed to a series of bilateral security packages that would ensure longer term assistance to Ukraine, in the interim, while stopping short of providing formal security guarantees.
- Despite differences over Ukraine’s membership prospects, the Vilnius summit delivered important progress on unlocking Sweden’s accession. A deal with Turkey can pave the way for the Nordic country to become the 32nd member of the alliance within the next few months. Leaders also endorsed new NATO defense plans aimed at shoring up the alliance’s deterrence posture on its eastern flank and confirmed that Jens Stoltenberg will remain Secretary-General for at least another year.
- President Joe Biden’s eighth trip to Europe, which included a major speech in Vilnius and stops in London and Helsinki, underscored his continued effort to demonstrate strong leadership in the Western alliance and maintain a united international opposition to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Biden sought to draw a sharp contrast to his Republican predecessor and possible future political opponent in the next U.S. presidential election.