Parliamentary Assembly of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (PA NATO)
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is the inter-parliamentary organisation which gathers parliamentarians from 28 member states and 14 associate member states. It was founded in 1955, at the time it had operated as the annual conference of the NATO member states parliamentarians.
The aims of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly can be defined as follows:
- to foster dialogue among parliamentarians on major security issues;
- to familiarize NATO and NATO member states with the opinion of parliamentarians;
- to provide greater transparency of NATO policies, and a higher degree of collective accountability;
- to strengthen the transatlantic relationship;
- to assist in the development of parliamentary democracy by integrating parliamentarians from non-member nations into the Assembly's work;
- to assist directly those parliaments actively seeking Alliance membership;
- to increase co-operation with countries of the Caucasus and the Mediterranean regions,
- to assist in the development of parliamentary mechanisms for the effective democratic control of armed forces.
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly meets twice a year in plenary session - a spring session at the end of May and an autumn session in October or November. At the spring session, committees review their reports and meet with government officials and policy experts. In Plenary Session, the Assembly debates on key issues and hears from key national and international leaders, the Assembly's President, a senior representative of the government of the host nation, NATO's Secretary General and others.
At the autumn session, reports from the committees are adopted, as well as recommendations which are not legally binding, but are distributed to governments and parliaments of member and associate member nations. NATO's Secretary General also provides a written reaction to each of the Policy Recommendations. The Plenary Sitting at the autumn session is usually addressed by the Assembly's President, a senior representative of the government of the host nation, and NATO's Secretary General. Elections also take place for Assembly officers: the President, five Vice-Presidents and the Treasurer. The President and five Vice-Presidents are elected for one-year terms and can be re-elected once. The Treasurer is elected every other year.
The Assembly also has the Bureau, which has the President, five Vice-Presidents and the Treasurer, and the Permanent Committee made of one member per delegation from member states and the President, five Vice-Presidents and the Treasurer.
NATO Parliamentary Assembly has five Committees and eight Sub-Committees. The Committees produce reports and prepare recommendations related to the NATO, which are then considered by the Assembly in Plenary Session. After the adoption, the Policy Recommendations are forwarded to member and associate member parliaments and governments, NATO authorities, and other international organizations. The Committees also receive briefings from senior government officials. All the Committees meet during the spring and autumn Assembly Sessions. The Defence and Security, Economics and Security, and Political Committees also hold an annual joint meeting in Brussels for briefings by senior NATO and EU officials. The Committees also have Sub-Committees to explore specific issues in more detail. Eight Sub-Committees meet several times a year on fact-finding missions to different countries designed to gather the field information and then write a report on that issue.
1. Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security
- Sub-Committee on Democratic Governance
2. Defence and Security Committee
- Sub-Committee on Transatlantic Defence and Security Co-operation
- Sub-Committee on Future Security and Defence Capabilities
3. Committee on Economics and Security
- Sub-Committee on East-West Economic Co-operation and Convergence
- Sub-Committee on Transatlantic Economic Relations
4. Political Committee
- Sub-Committee on Transatlantic Relations
- Sub-Committee on NATO Partnerships
5. Science and Technology Committee
- Sub-Committee on Energy and Environmental Security
The Assembly organizes annually three Rose-Roth Seminars and two Seminars for Mediterranean Dialogue, as well as the parliamentary training programme for the new members of parliaments. The Assembly also holds annual Transatlantic Parliamentary Forum in the United States of America, where Assembly members consider with American experts transatlantic opinions regarding a number of issues related to the NATO.
In the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Parliamentary Assembly of BiH has the status of Associate Member since 25 May 2007.
NATO PA Member States are: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Croatia, Iceland, Italy, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania, United States of America, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and United Kingdom.
Associate Member States are: Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Finland, Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Russian Federation, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine.
Official languages of the Assembly are English and French.