NATO Heads of State and Government met in Madrid on Wednesday 29 June and Thursday 30 June 2022 to transform and strengthen the Alliance. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “The decisions we have taken in Madrid will ensure that our Alliance continues to preserve peace, prevent conflict, and protect our people and our values. Europe and North America, standing together in NATO.”

Allied leaders agreed on a fundamental shift in NATO’s deterrence and defence, with strengthened forward defences, enhanced battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance, and an increase in the number of high readiness forces to well over 300,000. Leaders also agreed to invest more in NATO and to increase common funding. During the Summit, NATO’s closest partners Finland and Sweden were invited to join the Alliance, a significant boost to Euro-Atlantic security. Allies further agreed on long-term support for Ukraine through a strengthened Comprehensive Assistance Package.

Leaders endorsed a new Strategic Concept for the Alliance, setting out the Alliance’s priorities, core tasks and approaches for the next decade. The Concept describes the security environment facing the Alliance, reaffirms NATO’s values, and spells out NATO’s key purpose of ensuring its collective defence. It further sets out NATO’s three core tasks of deterrence and defence; crisis prevention and management; and cooperative security.

The new Strategic Concept sets out NATO’s approach to Russia and to other threats, including terrorism, cyber and hybrid. For the first time, the Strategic Concept addresses the challenges posed by China. The document also states that climate change is “a defining challenge of our time”; Leaders agreed on steps to cut NATO greenhouse gas emissions and move towards Net Zero by 2050.

The Strategic Concept is updated roughly every decade and is NATO’s second most important document. It reaffirms the values of the Alliance, provides a collective assessment of security challenges and guides the Alliance’s political and military activities. The previous version was adopted at the NATO Lisbon Summit in 2010.

A new NATO Innovation Fund to help the Alliance sharpen its technological edge – the world’s first multi-sovereign venture capital fund – was also launched at the Summit during a signing ceremony hosted by the NATO Secretary General.

"This fund is unique", the Secretary General said, "with a 15-year timeframe, the NATO Innovation Fund will help bring to life those nascent technologies that have the power to transform our security in the decades to come, strengthening the Alliance’s innovation ecosystem and bolstering the security of our one billion citizens."

The Fund will invest 1 billion euros in early-stage start-ups and other venture capital funds developing dual-use emerging technologies of priority to NATO. These include: artificial intelligence; big-data processing; quantum-enabled technologies; autonomy; biotechnology and human enhancement; novel materials; energy; propulsion and space.

The Fund will complement NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic – or DIANA – which will support the development and adaptation of dual-use emerging technologies to critical security and defence challenges. There has also been significant progress for DIANA at the 2022 Madrid Summit where Allies agreed that innovators participating in DIANA’s programs will have access to a network of more than 9 Accelerator Sites and more than 63 Test Centres across Europe and North America.

NATO leaders met with key partners to address global challenges and Indo-Pacific partners Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea participated together in a NATO Summit for the first time. The European Union and Georgia also took part in the meeting, as did Finland and Sweden. Allies recommitted to the fight against terrorism, and addressed NATO’s response to threats and challenges from the Middle East, North Africa and Sahel. The Secretary General said that NATO must stand with its partners around the world to preserve the rules-based international order in an era of strategic competition: “We see a deepening strategic partnership between Moscow and Beijing. And China’s growing assertiveness and its coercive policies have consequences for the security of Allies and our partners.”

At his closing press conference the NATO Secretary General said: “We face the most serious security situation in decades. But we are rising to the challenge with unity and resolve.” He thanked Spain for hosting the historic Summit and said a NATO Summit would be held in Vilnius, Lithuania next year.