Prime Minister to attend NATO summit in Chicago

Prime Minister Mark Rutte will take part in the NATO summit in Chicago on 20 and 21 May, accompanied by foreign minister Uri Rosenthal and defence minister Hans Hillen.

One of the main issues on the summit agenda is the Strategic Plan for Afghanistan. The transition process in Afghanistan is scheduled to come to an end in 2014, at which point the Afghan government will be fully responsible for the country’s security. This means a different role for NATO after 2014, with an emphasis on supporting and training Afghan security services.

In Chicago the allies will also discuss the role played by NATO in countering today’s threats, such as terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and cyber attacks. The process of adapting NATO to respond to new threats began in 2010.

The summit is also an opportunity to examine ways of deepening cooperation between NATO countries at a time when many of the allies are cutting their defence budgets. Joint procurement, on maintenance for example, can result in greater efficiency. The various options in this area are collectively termed ‘smart defence’.

Prior to the summit, the prime minister will address a meeting of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a think tank on international relations, speaking on the importance of the transatlantic relationship, both now and in the future. On Sunday morning 20 May, Mr Rutte will visit the offices of Mikva Challenge. There he will talk with a group of students from Chicago who, thanks to this initiative, have become actively involved in politics and public affairs.