Rethinking NATO Ties: New Military Alliances Emerge in Europe

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.08 - 2024 9:47 AM CET

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
New military strategies emerge in Europe because of Russia's aggression.

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In response to the deteriorating security landscape in Europe following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, four traditionally neutral European countries—Austria, Ireland, Switzerland, and Malta—have approached NATO seeking enhanced bilateral cooperation.

This development was reported by the Austrian newspaper Die Presse, which cited details from a joint letter sent to the North Atlantic Alliance.

The newspaper reveals that these countries, often grouped together as the Western European Partners (WEP4), sent a two-page letter to NATO in December 2023. In this letter, they expressed a desire to deepen their relationships with the alliance.

Proposals for Military Cooperation

The WEP4 countries, already considered NATO's "closest partners," are looking to bolster military cooperation at a time when the strategic importance of such alliances is growing.

The letter outlined specific proposals to strengthen these ties, including conducting additional joint military exercises and obtaining privileged access to NATO documents and intelligence.

The Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while speaking to Die Presse, effectively confirmed the authenticity of the letter and indicated that the initiative was motivated by ongoing geopolitical shifts in the region.

While neutral countries like Sweden and Finland have opted to abandon their neutrality in favor of full NATO membership in the wake of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the WEP4 have not taken such steps.

However, there have been repeated affirmations, particularly from the Swiss government, regarding an intention to deepen cooperation with NATO, reflecting a broader reassessment of security postures in traditionally neutral countries.

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