What did the NATO summit in Vilnius achieve?

Although it did not reach a consensus on a concrete accession scenario at its summit in Vilnius, Nato did agree on comprehensive support for Ukraine. This is to be ensured through the Nato-Ukraine Council, as well as through bilateral agreements with the G7 states and the countries involved at the Ramstein Air Base. Nato members also agreed to a new pledge to spend at least two percent of their GDP on defence in future. The summit draws a mixed response in the press.

Svenska Dagbladet (SE) /

Stoltenberg can breathe a sigh of relief

The Nato states are sticking together even if it sometimes doesn’t look like that way, Svenska Dagbladet notes with satisfaction:

“Everyone was happy with the solution [of the Nato-Ukraine Council] and the bilateral security guarantees announced by the G7 countries for Ukraine. Secretary General Stoltenberg can once again breathe a sigh of relief. ... With almost 32 countries, Nato is a huge organisation in which the interests of the allies sometimes go in slightly different directions. In the end, however, they always come to an agreement.”

Ann-Sofie Dahl
LB.ua (UA) /

Too noncommittal

Viktoriya Vdovychenko, a lecturer in international relations at Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University, expresses disappointment on LB.ua:

“Unfortunately there has been no miracle on the issue of Nato membership. So far Nato has viewed our desire to join the alliance as an invitation to get mixed up in a war. And the key Nato countries, the US and Germany, are definitely not ready for that. Some groundbreaking decisions were made at the Vilnius summit — both on Sweden’s membership and on increasing the defence budget. Ukraine, however, received only surprisingly vague statements regarding its membership prospects.”

Wiktorija Wdowytschenko
taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

A missed opportunity

The taz can understand why Kyiv is not satisfied with the results of the summit:

“Zelensky, who at this stage has mastered the keyboard of war diplomacy to perfection, is not naive. ... He knows that Ukraine cannot become a Nato member overnight. Nevertheless, the alliance could at least have decided to start accession talks with Kyiv. That would have been an important political statement and also a clear signal to Russia. Unfortunately, this opportunity was missed. This could backfire. Just remember what happened in 2008 [at the Nato summit in Bucharest Ukraine’s application for membership was welcomed but then postponed].”

Barbara Oertel
Postimees (EE) /

Reminiscent of the Bucharest summit in 2008

Commentng in Postimees, historian Mart Kuldkepp also fears that Nato has failed to learn from its mistakes:

“Even now — after a year and a half of full-blown war — it confines itself to pretty vague promises. One could say that the earnestness with which the question of Ukraine’s membership has been considered shows that the member states are serious about their collective defence. What we are hearing, however, is something else: the same old fear of a confrontation with Russia. ... The consequences of the same mistake were already visible after 2008, and I fear that there will be consequences this time too.”

Mart Kuldkepp
Jutarnji list (HR) /

Protecting democracy also means compromising

The meeting in Vilnius has shown how important Nato is in guaranteeing the security of democracies, Jutarnji list points out:

“In a world where the number of autocracies is growing, functional democracies must be protected. ... When 31 people sit at a table, it’s impossible that they’re all thinking the same thing. And if that were the case, one would want nothing better than to leave the room post haste. No one has left since 1949, but many want to join. Agreement is reached through talks, compromises, concessions — everything that defines democracies. Such a Nato can and must remain the headquarters of European and, to some extent, global cooperative security. Much to the dismay of Beijing, Moscow, Pyongyang — and Belgrade.”

Željko Trkanjec