The NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NPA) is an inter-parliamentary organization for parliamentarians in NATO’s Member States and NATO’s associated Member States. The NPA brings together European and North American legislators to discuss matters of common interest and importance. The NPA is independent of NATO, but links the national Parliaments in the Member States and the Alliance and makes an essential contribution to strengthening mutual understanding in the Alliance. The NPA convenes twice a year for plenary sessions, one in the spring and one in the autumn. The meetings are held in Member States and associated member states, by invitation from the national Parliaments.
The primary purpose of the NPA is to serve as a forum for sharing information and building consensus by addressing and discussing defense and security issues. It also contributes to finding common ground for the future development of NATO. Exchange of information on, and understanding of, national views and interests are thus essential elements in the work of the NPA. Discussions take place in individual NPA committees to share perspectives, further strengthen common interests and provide sounder basis on which to take national positions concerning a broad range of topics and issues. The NPA also serves as a forum for testing and assessing parliamentary and public views on current issues related to NATO. The NPA plays an indirect, but essential role in the formation of political opinion in this regard.
The NPA’s governing body is the Standing Committee. The Standing Committee is made up of the management of the NPA (the President and four Vice-Presidents) and the heads of the national delegations.
The NPA’s day-to-day work is carried out in five committees:
- the Political Committee
- the Defense and Security Committee
- the Committee on Economics and Security
- the Science and Technology Committee
- the Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security
Ad hoc committees and working groups are set up as required.
These committees study and discuss topical issues in their respective fields of interest. At the plenary session, a number of rapporteurs are elected for each of the five committees. The main task of the rapporteur is to draw up a report describing an issue of relevance to the committee. In connection with writing the reports, the committees hold regular meetings and organize study visits. At the spring session, the rapporteurs present their preliminary findings to the relevant committees, and at the autumn session, they present their conclusions. Based on the committee reports, resolutions are drafted for adoption at the autumn session.