By Simon Pompé
The NATO was in for a treat today. They kicked off EuroMUN with a talk given by Robert Pszczel, who is a Senior Officer for Russia and the Western Balkans of NATO itself. The committee was very appreciative of his insights, explanations and descriptions of NATO’s structure and current priorities.
For example, Pszczel stressed that the alliance is both political and military in nature. Crucially, political considerations take primacy over military concerns. Therefore, NATO is also instilled with the values and interests of its members. In that, “NATO did not fundamentally change since its conception”, he said, “Rather, the world has”. Cyberwarfare, terrorism, disinformation, budgetary questions, renewed conflict zones and rising world powers change the scope of what NATO concerns itself with.
One delegate asked whether that hindered the EU’s potential to build autonomous European forces separate from NATO. To that, Pszczel responded firmly that there is no such need. For one, NATO mostly consists of European countries anyways who are “natural partners”; they would cooperate on single security issues in any case. Furthermore, a true EU army like Juncker dreams of will never become a reality. Instead, intergovernmental approaches to joint forces are more realistic – and that is what NATO is about. Pszczel acknowledged that currently there is a lot of commentary on the future of European defense but argued that this debate is far less controversial in the inner cycle of NATO.
The Press Team asked Pszczel about student issues.
What do you think is the most valuable thing EuroMUN teaches its participants?
“Firstly, it’s simply the fact that people from so many different countries come together and just … talk! They decide to spend time together and discuss these important topics. They could spend their past time anywhere else, but instead, they’re here. Secondly, from what I’ve seen, EuroMUN is really high quality! All the preparatory work is clearly bearing fruits from what I’ve seen in the committee. Moreover, EuroMUN is a good advertisement for multilateral diplomacy. I fear that because of the political complexities, because of various controversies in the news, diplomacy does not get enough recognition. Yes, processes may be convoluted at times, but you must reach consensus and that’s so fundamental! For example, in NATO, we don’t use the term veto. We say ‘consensus building’, because all interests must be reconciled around the table. We practice this in NATO, but this can also be simulated in events like this. I think there are a lot of values to EuroMUN.”
For students who seek a career with NATO, what advice do you have?
We are always happy when young people are interested in NATO. Because international security is something that should concern a lot of people. Many think, that NATO is only military, very complicated, and something very far away! But if you think of cyberwarfare, for example, there are so many new angles that make security relevant to everybody. NATO itself is slimmer than, say, the European Union and there are not that many posts. But there is still a lot of work with NATO in connection with each and every country. I would strongly recommend that those who are interested in international relations, young, enthusiastic people try this contact point. There is a lot of national demand! And it’s not only about tanks and planes – it could also be about media, information and even a challenge for those who hold democracy dear. I can also recommend an internship as a first step in a NATO career, many people actually start there.”
[The exact wordings have been altered for brevity’s sake]