NATO Summit in Bucharest – Winners and Losers

Posted in NATO | 08-Apr-08 | Author: Dieter Farwick

WSN covered the NATO Summit in Bucharest with a team of four WSN Editors, Nathalie Vogel, Manuela Paraipan, Dmitry Udalov and Carsten Michels. It was the largest summit in NATO history.

The official documents and the various official declarations might lead to the misperception that the NATO summit in Bucharest was a success for all participants.

Almost everybody got something to present at home. US President George W. Bush received NATO’s commitment to the anti-missile shield. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had to swallow this development, but he was successful in blocking the initiative of the US and other NATO members to take Georgia and Ukraine into NATO’s Membership Action Plan already in 2008. Georgia and Ukraine have been guaranteed future membership without a time line. This fact has been overlooked by many observers as Gen (ret) Klaus Naumann, member of WSN International Advisory Board, stated: "They should have read the NATO communiqué which says:"We agreed today that these countries - Georgia and Ukraine - will become members of NATO" France and Germany were successful in blocking Ukraine and Georgia – at least in 2008. Macedonia was the only loser without compensation. Greece won the “name struggle” - strange politics, to put it mildly. Albania and Croatia were welcomed as new member states. If the stronger Albania would play the card of Albanian minorities in Macedonia, its entrance fee would be quite high for joining NATO and the EU – not forgetting Kosovo in this context.

The winner – Nicolas Sarkozy. The anger he caused – in combination with Germany – by blocking Georgia and Ukraine - was eased by his plea for a stronger European defense as a pillar within NATO, the announced enlargement of French troops in high-risk Eastern Afghanistan and his signal for France’s return to NATO’s military structure.

Germany won the sympathy of Putin and Russia but lost even more sympathy in the US and in some Eastern European countries. The summit was covered by Nathalie Vogel, WSN Editor for Eastern Europe and Dmitry Udalov, WSN Editor for Russia. In addition to the summit, they were able to attend the conferences of the German Marshall Fund and the Young Atlantic Treaty Association. They took the opportunity to talk to many people and to conduct exclusive interviews for WSN. Their impressions of all three conferences are remarkably different from public statements.

The delay of Georgia's and Ukraine's start of the Membership Action Plan in 2008 caused much anger and criticism. Russia is seen as having gained great influence in Europe - especially with regard to the German government. Germany obviously runs the risk of losing its historic strong position in NATO’s Ivy League, formed by the US, the United Kingdom and – France – rejoining NATO as a full member.