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On behalf of the Permanent Delegation of the National Council of the Slovak Republic to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, I am deeply honoured to welcome you to the heart of Europe, to Slovakia.
The Spring Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly is taking place in the year in which we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the North Atlantic Alliance. Slovakia joined NATO fifteen years ago; the same number of years has elapsed since our country last hosted a NATO Parliamentary Assembly Session.
Even after all those years, we all feel that our Alliance continues to have tremendous significance, probably the highest it has had in decades. The security situation is changing by the day and we, in Europe, are particularly aware of it. The countries of our region find it absolutely essential to be part of collective security. We are facing processes and challenges which even the most powerful countries of the world cannot tackle on their own, which only underscores the importance of our cooperation.
Our unstable world, and the unpredictability of what the future holds for us, require that we reset our perspective on the issues of security. Over the past 15 years, the security situation in our region, in particular to the east of our borders, has deteriorated quite significantly and has become much less predictable, with confrontation replacing dialogue and quest for solutions much more often than ever before.
The international rules are being violated. The abuse of social networks for the spreading of disinformation has taken on a dimension which puts the very foundations of our society at risk. This is one of those threats which no single country can tackle on its own. It is also an area where the Alliance has a role to play in looking for ways to face the contemporary subversive threats as they emerge.
We, in Slovakia, very much understand that our countries have no other security alternative but NATO membership. It is quintessential for peace and stability on the European continent.
The Alliance must show its deterrent power and, equally importantly, preparedness to pursue peaceful solutions. The hitherto enlargements of NATO have always expanded the area of peace and stability. I believe that NATO enlargement in the Balkans will be no different. Only a couple of weeks ago, the Slovak Parliament supported the accession of North Macedonia and, two years ago, the accession of Montenegro. We, in Central Europe, keep a close eye on the developments in Ukraine and on how Ukraine is facing a broad spectrum of threats, including cyberattacks and direct military aggression.
I am convinced that the Spring Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly will be a splendid opportunity for all of us to thoroughly discuss all the issues of importance to the security of the Transatlantic area. I also believe that our forum will provide an excellent platform to identify and analyse the latest trends in the area of defence and security.
Most of our meetings will take place in the ancient halls of Bratislava Castle. I believe that the castle will be an ample venue for our discussions and that you will be leaving Bratislava with new ideas, deeper insight, and fond memories of Slovakia.
Mr Martin Fedor
Head of the Permanent Delegation of the National Council of the Slovak Republic to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
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