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Group statement | 16 February 2024

Statement by the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group (EASLG): Shrinking the Zone of Confrontation and Competition: Principles for Euro-Atlantic Security and the Global Nuclear Order

The vision of mutual security in the Euro-Atlantic region—a geographic and political space that includes the European community of nations, Russia, and the United States—appears more distant today than at any time in the past 30 years. The consensus now in much of Europe is that convergence with Russia does not work; hence, the West is now decoupling from Russia, and Russia from the West. The war in Ukraine has undermined security for all nations in the Euro-Atlantic area and leaders face risks of miscalculation, compounded by the potential for the use of nuclear weapons, where millions could be killed in minutes. The heart of the problem is a complete lack of trust among nations stemming from the war and resulting inability of leaders and nations to engage collectively and comprehensively on an extremely difficult menu of issues relating to regional security. This has led to the polar opposite of mutual security: an expanding zone of confrontation and competition between states, raising the risk of escalation.

No nation benefits from a persistent and deadly war and threats of an even more devastating conflict. Governments that are openly adversarial today cannot indefinitely avoid their shared responsibility to work together to mitigate global risks arising from today’s security environment, for the present generation and for generations to come. Nations still have existential common interests in areas relating to climate change, nuclear and biological threats, as well as managing new disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, and preserving freedom of navigation. Thus, re-establishing basic principles relating to security and nuclear order is essential. Mutual security is the best guidepost—and must be made resilient to big shocks.

In this statement, the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group have put forward seven principles for Euro-Atlantic Security and the Global Nuclear Order:

  1. Restore communication and dialogue to manage instability and build mutual security.
  2. Identify and advance areas of existential common interests.
  3. Recognize non-Euro-Atlantic perspectives on security.
  4. Adopt a “multi-basket” approach to security.
  5. Increase leadership decision time.
  6. Manage and control emerging threats and technologies.
  7. Increase accountability, transparency, and predictability.

Read the statement and view signatories in full

The opinions articulated above represent the views of the signatories and do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Leadership Network or its members. The ELN aims to encourage debates that will help develop Europe’s capacity to address the pressing foreign, defence, and security policy challenges of our time.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons / Tom Page