As the NATO Leaders meeting takes place today in Hertfordshire, or in London according to the organisers, it is vital that the starting point for this organisation is not ignored. As the logo indicates this meeting is taking place 70 years since NATO was formed in April 1949. The formation however began two years earlier with the signing of the Treaty of Dunkirk by France and United Kingdom in March 1947 which was defined as a Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance against a possible German attack in the aftermath of World War II. This Treaty ended long after peace with Germany had been achieved in 1997. A year after the Treaty of Dunkirk, a new Treaty called the Treaty of Brussels was signed bringing together UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. This then led another year later for the formation of NATO with the addition of the United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.
There are many challenges facing our nations today. In particular in the UK as we are in the middle of a General Election, set out for next week by the Prime Minister who was fully aware of the NATO conference and would have been fully advised that our nations Purdah rules would make such a clash inappropriate. It was for that same set of rules that several weeks ago Johnson refused to engage with the EU over the appointment of the next Commissioner, so his information was clear. Another of the huge challenges as we potentially face our departure from the EU is that it destroys our ability to strengthen the basis for the formation of NATO 72 years ago. Many of us are aware of the huge risk that Brexit brings to the future of a form of peace in our world. Perhaps this event will remind Johnson and one or two other people!