On April 9, 2019, the Spanish Atlantic Youth Council (COAJE) organized an event at the Higher Centre for National Defence Studies (CESEDEN) under the name "70th anniversary of NATO: past, present and future" with the aim of commemorating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The objective was to talk with experts from the military world about the past, present and future of the longest-standing military alliance in recent history, which began with the signing of the Washington Treaty on April 4, 1949. The event was opened by DIGENPOL María Elena Gómez Castro. Then the president of COAJE, Ana María Martín Elvira, introduced each of the speakers.
The first speaker was Admiral José Luis Urcelay Verdugo, who spoke about the recent present of the Alliance with his presentation "NATO. An organization in constant evolution".
Then the second chief of staff of the Navy was responsible for explaining some of the new turning points, such as the 2014 Wales summit in Newport, where the strategy to follow on the Ukrainian question, Russia and the annexation of Crimea was set out. Another issue discussed was the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the country’s joint troop training mission, with reference to the Spanish military deployed in Kabul.
To conclude his speech, Admiral Urcelay highlighted the collaborative missions of the Alliance in which Spain is immersed.
Later, Air Force General Lucas Manuel Muñoz Bronchales, spoke about NATO´s past with his paper "Past, historical evolution of the Alliance", where he reviewed the historical importance of an organization that was very important during the Cold War consolidating itself as an international barrier against the Soviet Union after World War II. He also recalled how the Alliance then promoted, as now, the collaboration of the countries of the Western bloc and mutual protection against external threats. General Muñoz Bronchales concluded by recalling the current challenges of the Alliance, for example, the influence of Russia and China, the fight against fundamentalism, terrorism, migration and climate change.
Finally, General Jesús Rafael Argumosa Pila, made a positive projection of the future of the Alliance with his presentation "Future challenges of the Alliance". In particular, he mentioned two of the main problems and future challenges that NATO is facing, namely, the military action and investment in Defence of the member countries of the Alliance-,with the objective of reaching 2% of GDP. As future concerns, the general placed China’s rising situation in the international framework, Russia’s stance and the growth of terrorism as a global threat.
Finally, the General Secretary of COAJE, Pino Penilla, closed the event by highlighting COAJE’s commitment to the promotion of defence values and alliance among young people.
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