Previewing the NATO PA and the International Secretariat’s work plan for 2020

31 January 2020

On the 1st of January, I assumed the duties of Secretary General of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, taking over from my outstanding predecessor, David Hobbs. 

I first joined the NATO PA in 2005 as Director of the Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security and have been privileged to serve as David’s deputy from 2011 to 2019. I now very much look forward to continuing to serve the Assembly as its Secretary General. 

Our International Secretariat acts both as the Assembly’s internal think tank and research service as well as the planning centre for all Assembly meetings. Our skilled and motivated team of 28 permanent staff is fully committed to supporting the Assembly’s aims and priorities, and working to strengthen the parliamentary dimension of our transatlantic alliance. I will do my utmost to ensure that we continue to do so to the highest standards, building on my predecessors’ solid legacy.   

This will be another busy year for the Assembly. Its various bodies will examine a broad range of threats and challenges facing our nations: 

  • Russia’s military modernisation; 
  • increased tensions in the Black Sea; 
  • instability in the Middle East and Africa, including the Sahel; 
  • the rise of China; 
  • new trends in weapons development and warfare; and
  • unfinished reconciliation and European integration in the Western Balkans. 

They will also look at how NATO adapts to this unpredictable and particularly complex security environment: 

  • politically – through the reflection process on NATO’s political dimension launched at the Allied Leaders’ meeting in December 2019; 
  • militarily – by supporting defence investment and innovation; 
  • through its partnership with the European Union, and capacity building support for other partners; 
  • through a renewed focus on values, including implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda; 
  • and through enhanced efforts to better inform our public about NATO. 

A particular highlight of the programme for 2020 will be the Assembly’s first session in Ukraine in May. Last week, a meeting of the NATO PA’s bilateral group with Ukraine – the Ukraine-NATO Interparliamentary Council – provided an excellent opportunity to take stock of both NATO-Ukraine and NATO PA-Ukraine cooperation and preview some of the issues which will be at the top of the agenda at the Kyiv session.

The NATO PA also looks forward to welcoming North Macedonia as its 30th member in 2020, as soon as ratification procedures for the country’s accession to NATO are completed. 

The International Secretariat and I stand ready and are eager to support this ambitious programme for 2020 and to help ensure that NATO PA members’ voices are heard on all these important matters. 

Ruxandra Popa
Secretary General 


Find out more about Ruxandra Popa.