ATA 61 General Assembly
“Cooperative Security & Interconnected Threats”
Palais d’Egmont, Brussels, 18 November 2015
The tragic terrorist attacks in Paris have been a new and sorrowful reminder that the scourge of terrorism is still far from being defeated. In such dreadful moments, our Institutions, our societies, and ATA itself, must reaffirm our enduring values of peace and freedom by acting stronger than it used to be.
However, in the present insecurity scenario, no country alone can effectively tackle the new global terrorist and interconnected threats. Therefore, ATA is working today with new Partners and a farsighted vision, aimed at promoting and complementing the NATO cooperative approach to security with our action, and even beyond the borders of the Alliance.
The search of common solutions to common challenges has been at the core of our partnership in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, a partnership that really embodies the urgency of the historical period we are living through.
Following the security thread that unites NATO Southern and Eastern flanks, ATA has also increased its commitment to the crises and conflicts that are affecting the Caucasus.
In Ukraine, ATA has recently brought to fruition an important Workshop on “Counter-Balancing Information War” that was successfully carried out in the Odesa Province State Administration. which gathered regional key stakeholders to discuss the influence of pro-separatist propaganda in local media and design an effective strategy to counter disinformation.
As for Georgia, ATA issued a new publication on “The Protection of Critical Energy Infrastructure against Emerging Security Challenges”, resulting from a NATO Advanced Research Workshop promoted by ATA in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Moreover, NATO strong and resolute response against Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the escalation in Ukraine, has been complemented by relevant ATA activities in NATO members countries, from Eastern and Central Europe.
In 2015, the Riga Conference and GLOBSEC have marked 10 and 9 years since their inception, and their increasing relevance place these events among the flagship initiatives in the transatlantic security debate for decision-makers, officials and experts.
Besides the Eastern and Southern flanks of the Alliance, ATA has continued to focus on the unfinished business in the core of Europe: the full integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures of the Western Balkans.
In this respect, the Atlantic Council of Montenegro and the 2BS Forum played an important role in bringing Montenegro at the doorstep of NATO. And we are looking to the Warsaw Summit to welcome this country as a full member of the Atlantic family.
In Serbia, ATA is promoting political dialogue and cooperation with NATO since 1999, when the Atlantic Council of Serbia has been established. And the Italian Atlantic Committee introduced the first NATO training programs for Serbian military Officers at the National Defense School in Belgrade.
In conclusion, an assessment on the “State of the Union” of the ATA network should outline that today it became much more than Association, facing a challenging but promising future.
In 2005, ATA through its extraordinary network, was able to carry out about 500 initiatives engaging over 5000 people in 37 different countries. Initiatives able to attract on social media 700 hundred thousands contacts in 2 hours of a Panel Discussion in Brussels.
A confident assessment on the future of the Atlantic Treaty Association can also be based on the impressive level and amount of initiatives organized in 2015 by the YATA, the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association, aimed at preparing the new generation of Atlanticist leaders .
2016 AND BEYOND
As it will be outlined by the next Warsaw Summit, the interconnectedness of the multiple challenges and threats to the Euro-Atlantic and international security, first and foremost terrorism, requires the development of adequate level of capabilities and readiness, as well as enhanced cooperative security relations within the Alliance and with Partners on a global scale.
To this end, ATA is ready and prepared to play an increased role, as it has grown today into much more than an association. Indeed, the Atlantic Treaty Association represents an extraordinary forum able to translate security needs in concrete achievements by effective actions in the field of information, education, training, civilian preparedness and international cooperation, involving decision makers, officials, experts and qualified representatives of civil societies from NATO member and Partner countries and beyond.