NATO needs a new strategic concept which would include coming closer to threats looming on the alliance's southern flank, Portuguese Minister of National Defence José Alberto Azeredo Lopes said at the Lennart Meri Conference in Tallinn on Saturday.
"Organizations like NATO or the EU should not only focus on one direction; the 90-degree approach doesn't work," Lopes said at a panel discussion regarding NATO.
According to the Portuguese minister, NATO has to thoroughly analyse its new role, and thus far, the alliance has not been very effective when dealing with new threats.
The minister said that nobody is doubting that NATO should focus on the eastern flank, but everything that is happening in the South is perceived as important for security. Portugal is very active in Afghanistan and on NATO's eastern flank, while Estonia has shown itself as a provider of security in Mali, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Lopes recalled that when he assumed office in 2015, discussions within NATO mainly concerned threats from the East. Thereafter, it was sensed that the Islamic State group is an organization that operated in Syria and Iraq as a military force and in European capital cities as a terrorist organisation.
NATO is modernising its military leadership structure by creating two new commands, and it should be accompanied by a new strategic concept, Lopes said. "NATO is very classical and traditional today, but it shouldn't stay this way," he added, noting that the EU is a much more dynamic organization in the direction of South at the moment.
The current NATO strategic concept was adopted at the 2010 Chicago summit.
Editor: Aili Vahtla