Declaration of the Heads of State Bucharest 9 Meeting (Košice, 28th of February 2019)

28 februarie 2019 | NATO

1. We, the Presidents of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,  Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic, have gathered in Košice in the Bucharest 9 platform for consultation and dialogue to:

- commemorate the 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Alliance, as well as the 20th and 15th anniversary of the accession of our respective countries to NATO;

- reaffirm our strong commitment to collective defence, as enshrined in the Article 5 of the Washington Treaty based on solidarity, shared responsibility and the indivisibility of Allied security;

- exchange views on current security threats and challenges and ways how to address them.

We appreciate the presence of the NATO Secretary General today.

2. For the last 70 years, NATO has served as the bedrock of security in the Euro-Atlantic area. It remains the unique framework for our collective defence, transatlantic dialogue and plays irreplaceable role in protecting our values and safeguarding security of our citizens and our territories. Our membership in the Alliance created an opportunity to fulfil aspirations of our nations and provided the security and stability for economic development and well-being of our societies while advancing the vision of Europe whole, free and at peace. At the same time, our countries have been strengthening their capabilities to contribute to Allied collective defence.  

3. As we meet today, we face the most difficult security challenges in a generation. In the spirit of 360 degrees approach, the Alliance should continue to be ready to respond to all threats and challenges from wherever they arise. We have, therefore, every reason to make our Alliance stronger and to ensure that the transatlantic bond remains as solid and effective as ever. We are determined to work towards this objective, including through our commitment to spend 2% of the GDP on defence, modernising our defences and engaging in operations. We welcome and support strengthened military presence of the United States and Canada in Europe, particularly on NATO’s Eastern flank.

4. The threats and challenges we face are complex, often unpredictable and coming from all directions. No country can fully address them alone. They range from conventional and hybrid forms, including cyber, to terrorism, regional instability, irregular migration, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and threats to our energy security. We are faced with an intense use of disinformation and propaganda. Traditional lines between military and non-military warfare are fading.

5. Today, we are better prepared to confront the current security challenges. Our countries contribute to Alliance’s adaptation. In the spirit of allied unity, solidarity and fair burden sharing, we underline the importance of NATO´s forward presence from the Baltic to the Black Sea, as well as other initiatives aimed at strengthening our ability to defend our citizens and territories as part of the allied collective effort to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence. We also support the implementation of the strategic, focused and coherent NATO approach to the South. We acknowledge the participation in relevant NATO activities, including the mission in Afghanistan as part of the efforts towards peace and reconciliation.

6. We remain particularly concerned with the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and recent tensions in the Azov and Black Seas stemming from the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea and military build-up. This is another manifestation of Russia’s disregard of international law, its confrontational pattern of behaviour and use of military and also non-military actions, such as the construction of the Kerch Strait bridge, to advance its geopolitical goals. All of this calls for even more coherent and strategic approach from the Alliance. We are also gravely concerned by Russia’s material breach of the INF Treaty and failure to return to full and verifiable compliance, which led to the suspension of the Treaty and the United States’ notification of withdrawal. We continue to take necessary steps in the Alliance to ensure the credibility and effectiveness of NATO deterrence and defence posture and remain firmly committed to the preservation of effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.

7. We reiterate our support to NATO’s approach on Russia based on strong deterrence and defence, and openness to dialogue as agreed since Wales Summit with a view to avoiding misunderstanding, miscalculation, and unintended escalation.   

8. The anniversaries of our countries’ accession to the Alliance reminds us how crucial NATO´s Open Door Policy has been for enhancing security of its members, for peaceful reunification of Europe and for stability of the whole Euro-Atlantic area. We will continue to support further NATO enlargement in line with the Article 10 of the Washington Treaty. We welcome the recent signing of the Accession Protocol and look forward to the Republic of North Macedonia becoming the thirtieth NATO Ally.

9. We remain committed to the security and stability in the Western Balkans, an area of strategic interest to the Alliance, and will continue the political dialogue and practical cooperation with partners in this region. We also reiterate our firm support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, within their internationally recognized borders. While pursuing their respective European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, these countries will continue to benefit as well from our support in their efforts to strengthen their resilience against any external interference. At the same time, we reiterate that progress in reforms should be based on democratic values, respect for rule of law, human rights, and full compliance with their respective international commitments and obligations.

10. We believe that stronger NATO and stronger EU are mutually reinforcing. Together they can better provide security and peace in Europe, in our neighbourhood and beyond. We are supporting an enhanced EU role in security and defence through developing initiatives in this area in full complementarity and synergy with NATO. We are determined to strengthen NATO-EU strategic partnership and cooperation.

11. We look forward to December NATO Leaders´ Meeting in London that will enable us to take stock of implementation of decisions we took in Wales, Warsaw and Brussels and advance adaptation of the Alliance to address security threats and challenges we face. We remain committed to continue meeting in the Bucharest 9, platform for dialogue and cooperation, as a means to consult each other, promote joint approaches and contribute to Euro-Atlantic security.