A project sponsored and supported by NATO PDD with the main topic: NATO 2030 – ATA TALKS” held on 1 July 2021. This event focused on the importance of NATO’s eFP BG countries and was represented by members of the ATA’s youth wing – YATA.

Under the topic of this online conference: “NATO 2030 – Raising awareness about the importance of NATO’s eFP BG countries” and through discussions by moderator Juxhina Sotiri Gjoni, President YATA, hosted by James Townsend, ATA President with experts’ presentations, ATA and YATA contributes to exchanging ideas, knowledge and opinions giving new perspectives of security challenges and threats.

Speaker at this online conference was Amb. Baiba Braže, Assistant Secretary-General for Public Diplomacy. She discussed with YATA chapter representatives about the future of NATO, providing new information and predictions.

James Townsend started by mentioning that, it is Important for chapters and YATA to expand the understanding in our align countries, that there is an important role we all can play to support NATO and make sure people understand and respect what NATO does, the importance of NATO to our countries for the stability in Europe, and to understand that for the alliance to remain strong the people of the alliance need to remain engaged and supporting NATO. In the same line Amb. Braze said, our mandate is to raise awareness and support for NATO, because our mission is to maintain peace and security in our countries. NATO is the strongest defence alliance in the world.

As Juxhina Sotiri Gjoni stressed our association draws together more than 37 ATA national chapters and 25 YATA national chapter expanding its outreach efforts amongst member and partner countries. Throughout many different languages of each national chapters YATA impose an important and unique platform committed to disseminating NATO messages. In the same way Amb. Braze said that YATA play a very important role as well as ATA. Juxhina Sotiri Gjoni stated that YATA’s role in this process is essential and we all are committed to further strengthen our cooperation with the Public Diplomacy Division. This program provided a vehicle for the youth of the Alliance to express their vision for the importance of NATO’s eFP BG countries – raising awareness. Indeed, according to Gjoni, In this framework we closely worked together to bring to our young audience attention the importance of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence deployed in the eastern part of the Alliance. With four multinational battlegroups, combat-ready, NATO eFP is a demonstration of our alliance’s strength and its transatlantic bond.

NATO will continue to adapt. As Amb. Braze said, NATO Summit addressed some very important issues and those include the fact that leaders recognized we are in a systemic competition. In response to a more dangerous and unpredictable security environment, NATO strengthens its deterrence and defence capabilities, posture and resilience, more capable and ready forces, significant deployments in missions and operations, and deeper engagement with partners. With the accent on NATO 2030, and new challenges and threats which discussed on Summit 2021, Russia was on the agenda.  Amb. Braze said about Russia that, we clearly signal to Russia that on the one hand our channels of communication are open including the NATO-RUSSIA council in Brussels, but on the other hand we clearly show that we are very serious about defence and deterrence, that’s why the battle groups are there.

At the end of the event, YATA-ATA senior representatives from eFP BG countries like Lithuania, Montenegro, Norway, and Spain participated in a quick round of final words and in a quick Q&A session. During this part, they provided their visions of its future and what it means for them the NATO’s battle groups form as a part of the biggest reinforcement of NATO’s collective defence in a generation.

From this Q&A session some key points that came out from Amb. Braze were:

eFP is not called an operation but is an action, is an everyday work of our soldiers and our civilians on the ground to ensure that they are able to understand and act on plans that are ready to meet the challenges and threats. Adding that one of the biggest challenges will always be around the hybrid developments (cyber, disinformation and energy security).

The challenges and threats we face are global and also the US needs a transatlantic alliance to help it meet these global challenges.

Covid affected a number of exercises on NATO’s side…. some became smaller, and some other took a different expression.

On youth and how to integrate NATO into youth YATA INTERNATIONAL and YATA members play an important role and should be a NATO ambassador, promoted NATO.

At the end James Townsend pointed up that is important for YATA to know what the ambassadors doing at NATO PDD…. and their staff is really breaking new ground when it comes to evolving next generation in what NATO was all about. He also spoken about the resilience stating that the resilience is YATA, ATA, NATO and what we are doing in our societies concluding ATA is looking forward to closer cooperation with YATA and NATO.