Mariya Gabriel in NATO: Cooperation, anticipatory action and sharing of experience are at the core of the Euro-Atlantic approach29 November 2023 News
The first meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council was held during the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of NATO Allies.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mariya Gabriel attended the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the NATO Allies. The meeting, which took place on 28 and 29 November in Brussels, was divided into three sessions for debates on key topics for the Alliance.
The first session of the meeting was aimed at providing basic political guidance on the priorities for the NATO Summit in Washington in 2024. The year 2024 will mark the 75th anniversary of NATO and the 20th anniversary of Bulgaria's accession to the Alliance.
“Collaboration, anticipatory action and sharing of experience are at the core of our approach. The security and stability of the Black Sea region and the Western Balkans remain key for Bulgaria. Bulgaria stands out for its strategic position and key role in strengthening NATO's Eastern flank. The country’s efforts to modernise its military capabilities and our plan to reach 2% of GDP for defence expenditures next year have not been unnoticed’, Mariya Gabriel said.
The session also discussed the Allies' support to Ukraine and NATO's role in coordinating long-term security assistance. Mariya Gabriel expressed hope for the soon finalisation of the ratification process of the protocol for Sweden's future membership in NATO.
The second session of the meeting focused on the situation in the Western Balkans. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell also took part in the discussion. In her speech, Deputy Prime Minister Mariya Gabriel stressed Bulgaria’s key role in the stability in the region and our country’s contribution to the NATO Stabilization Force in Kosovo (KFOR) and the EU operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR ALTHEA).
In the framework of the third session, the first important meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council (NUC), announced during the Vilnius Summit, took place. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba gave an update on what is happening in the country and shared what Ukraine needed.
‘Support for Ukraine in the short and long term remains high on the agenda. Bulgaria remains committed to assist Ukraine in the sectors where our assistance is needed. Implementing our commitments is a clear expression of our solidarity with Ukraine’, Mariya Gabriel stressed.
The meeting approved the NUC substructures as well as the work programme for 2024. They deepen NATO's cooperation with Ukraine in key sectors such as energy security, innovation, cyber security and the fight against disinformation.
Another important outcome was the adoption of a Joint Statement with Ukraine, underlining the progress in NATO-Ukraine relations since the Vilnius summit in July.