On the 27th of November, 2015, the 19th International Parliamentary NATO Conference was held in the Parliament’s Delegates’ Hall. The conference was divided into three main parts. Firts of all, László Kövér (Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament), István Simicskó (Minister of Defence of Hungary) and István Mikola (State secretary of Security Policy and International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) gave their introductory speeches. The focus was on the recent attacks in Paris, committed by the jihadists of the Islamic State.

After that the topic was the changing strategic environment around the Alliance.  ithin The most informative lecture was given by Péter Siklósi (Deputy State Secretary for Defence Policy and Defence Planning, MoD). Mr. Siklósi pointed out that NATO has to adapt not only to the military and defensive changes, but also to the alterations taking place in the field of economics, technology, demography and in the environment. Our unipolar world, with the dominance of the USA, has started to transform into a multipolar world, and the role of non-state actors (terrorist groups, corporations) are becoming more and more relevant. He highlighted that right now Europe has to cope with two main threats. From the East, there is the threat of Russia, trying to regain its superpower status. According to Mr. Siklósi, Russia poses the smaller problem, and it can be handled intellectually. The other problem, Europe has to deal with, is the refugee crisis, and the rising of extremist terrorist groups. This is a terribly complex question, which requires the unity of the European states, and currently seems to be unresolved.

The third part of the conference included two panels. In the first panel, the lecturers demonstrated the adaptation of the military structure of NATO. Ambassador Péter Sztáray (Permanent Representative of Hungary to NATO) and General Tibor Benkő (Chief of Defence, General Staff, MoD) summarized the results of the Wales NATO summit, and evaluated Hungary’s role in the NATO.

The second panel’s title was: Cooperative regional security: partnership, enlargement, defence cooperation, more precisely the accession of Montenegro to the NATO. Montenegro became an independent country only a few years ago, therefore gaining an invitation like that, is an enormous result. Ambassador Dragana Radulović (Head of Representation of the Republic of Montenegro to NATO) gave his thoughts about Montenegro potential NATO membership.

by Andrea Lőrincz (Intern, CSDS)