The first of public debates titled “GLOBSEC V Lampe” discussed whether the countries of the Visegrad Group are still pro-Atlanticist. Vice-President of the Central European Council, Róbert Vass; CEPI Senior Fellow, Marian Majer; Foreign Affairs Editor of the Pravda daily newspaper, Andrej Matišák, and through video link also former Defence Minister of the Czech Republic, Alexander Vondra, have talked mostly about how to sell the NATO brand better to the public, so that it would be more comprehensible.
They have admitted that the West has been losing the information war with Russia. Although most people in Slovakia support the position of NATO, the pro-Russian voices are much stronger. The guests of the debate, which was chaired by Štefan Hríb, have looked for options how to tackle this problem. They believe that the West lacks strong personalities and elites, such as President Putin of Russia, who would explain the meaningfulness of NATO to the general public.
One of the conclusions of the debate was that NATO will now focus on territorial defence and expeditionary missions will be sidelined. All participants have agreed that the NATO membership is crucial for viability of Slovakia as a country and for its future development and progress. It contributes to the stability of the region. However, we have to realise that the NATO membership is not only about profiting from its guarantees but also about commitments to the common defence.
The debate took place on 6th October in the Blue Salon of the Slovak National Theatre. Please, follow this link to watch the broadcast of the debate.