Contribution to the series "The World HandCOV'd"

In a matter of only a few months the coronavirus pandemic became the dominating domestic policy driver for many countries and the primary shaper of international relations in its own right. It not only affected individual states, but also disrupted the operations of international organizations, integration blocs and military alliances. NATO is no exception. Involved in the fight against the pandemic, the Alliance also found itself faced with serious long-term challenges, which are not entirely new, but have become markedly more relevant in the new environment. So what is it that NATO gas already encountered during the pandemic and to which long-term challenges will the Alliance need to find answers?

Key takeaways

• The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the reduction in the number and scope of military exercises by NATO and demonstrated initially poor solidarity among its member states. Numerous already concluded military contracts have also become hostages to the pandemic;

• NATO member states will have their defence budgets curtailed, which will ultimately have a negative effect on the defence capabilities of the whole Alliance;

• The coronavirus has highlighted several serious vulnerabilities of the member states’ armed forces (in particular, the Navy);

• NATO faces the need to bring its response mechanisms in line with new non-military threats.