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Applying a Systematic Approach to NATO-Russia Risk Reduction: Announcing Phase 2 of the BASIC-Netherlands Collaboration

BASIC is delighted to announce that we are continuing our cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands on nuclear risk reduction in Europe in 2021 and 2022. Risk reduction remains an integral priority for European diplomacy as political tensions and distrust among states may increase the likelihood of nuclear and conventional escalation. Reducing the risk of tensions escalating to nuclear war is therefore crucial to ensure a viable and stable relationship between NATO and Russia. 

In Phase 2 of our collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, BASIC will produce a systematic assessment of risk reduction options in Europe. We will explore risk assessments and risk reduction policies in a total of four track 1.5 dialogues over 18 months with participants from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in one track, and with Russian participants in a concurrent parallel track. These workshops aim to clarify the current national risk perceptions and assessments, how each of the countries prioritise these risks, and which potential solutions there may be to address some of the risks. 

Phase 1 of the project clearly identified that the political tensions and distrust between Russia and NATO member-states is the most volatile current and near-future nuclear risk in Europe. One of the clear outcomes from Phase 1 was that officials and experts from Russia and Eastern European NATO member-states were important stakeholders for risk reduction in Europe. Phase 2 broadens the scope of participating states to include NATO member-states from Eastern Europe and Russia in order to gain a systematic understanding of risk perceptions, their impact on policies and ways to reduce risks in the relationship between NATO and Russia.

In 2022 we will bring participants from Phase 1 and Phase 2 together in a Strategic Dialogue at the end of the project to lay the groundwork for a common path forward based on our comprehensive findings from both phases of the project. Our aim is to promote mutual reassurance between NATO member-states and Russia as a suitable first step towards de-escalating tensions in the 2025 Review Cycle.

BASIC will provide updates on our findings throughout 2021 and 2022. 

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