NATO and the future of the European relations in the time of crisis

In the face of a deep crisis in the transatlantic relations, the NATO member states should do everything possible to prevent the deepening of disputes, because US-Europe cooperation for global security is a value that must not be squander.


Such a conclusion can be drawn after listening to the NATO debate and the future of European relations, which took place on 20th  September in Vienna. The meeting took place within the framework of the project “NATO:1949-1999-2019. 20 years of Poland in a seventy-year Alliance” financially supported by the Department of Public and Cultural Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the framework of the Public Diplomacy 2019 competition. The partner of the project and the organizer of the meeting in Vienna is AIES (Austrian Institute of European Policy and Security).

The participants of the debate, moderated by Werner Fasslabend President of AIES were: Stanley Sloan, AIES expert, and Krsevan Anton Dujmovic, expert from the Croatian Institute for International Affairs IRMO.

Stanley Sloan, an outstanding expert of the transatlantic relations, began his speech with the observation that we are dealing with a greater crisis in transatlantic relations since the establishment of the alliance, additionally weakened by the inactivity of the United Kingdom due to permanent negotiations around Brexit. During the presidency of Donald Trump, the relations between the US and its European partners deteriorated considerably. Everything possible shall be done to change this because, as Sloan said, ‘there is no other partner or organization in the world that can replace the United States in the system of global security’. The guest from the USA presented several scenarios for the development of the international situation, such as a possible Brexit, Russia after elections or the re-election of President Trump for another term of office. “I strongly warned, he pointed out, against the creation of a European army or any other form of “strategic autonomy” in Europe.”

Werner Fasslabend stressed the invaluable importance of the United States as one of the forces determining global politics, which can only be threatened by a nuclear attack on the part of the enemy, in contrast to other NATO members who feel the real danger of a land invasion on the part of Russia (such as the Baltic states).

Anton Dujmović pointed out in his speech that Croatia is a new member of NATO that fulfils its statutory duties in an exemplary way. However, it is difficult to speak of unity in terms of political goals in the Balkan region when an agreement on the creation of a free trade area between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and Serbia is going to sign in October this year.  Dujmović, referring to the crisis in the relations between Europe and the USA, set as an example the Nord Stream 2 project, which divided the EU countries into those that see it as a pure business transaction and those that see it as a threat to European security.

A part of the event in Vienna was presentation of the publication: “NATO: 1949-1999-2019. 20 years of Poland in a 70 year Alliance”, composed of articles written by security policy experts representing the project partners. The debate was also broadcast online on the FB AIES website (link to the debate

Krševan Antun Dujmović, Expert from the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) in Zagreb. He has been involved in many EU funded projects and information campaigns. Fields of his interest include European integration and EU enlargement process, EU relations with Russia, Ukraine and South Caucasus, NATO, energy security and digital society.

Werner Fasslabend, expert on transatlantic relations, diplomat, former politician; during 1990–2000 he was the federal minister of defense, thus becoming the longest-standing minister of defense in the history of the Republic of Austria. During his term of office, he carried out a far-reaching reform program at the Ministry, among others modernization of the armament of Austria. He also strongly supported Austria’s active participation in the EU and PfP NATO, as well as initiated and organized the first meeting of EU defense ministers in 1998, the director of AIES (Austrian Institute for European Policy and Security) responsible for preparing analyzes for the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Stanley Sloan, expert on US-European relations, is the founding Director of the Atlantic Community Initiative and a Visiting Scholar at the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs at Middlebury College.  He served as a consultant to the National Defense University Center for Transatlantic Security Studies in 2011-12 and since 2014 he is an Associate Fellow at the AIES. Former Head of the Office of Senior Specialists of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress. Stanley Sloan served as rapporteur for the North Atlantic Assembly special presidential report on “NATO in the 21st Century.”. Author of numerous publications and books, also very active teacher and lecturer.