While NATO’s top brass and the leaders of alliance member states are preparing for their annual meeting in Brussels, right across the street from EU parliament peace activists from all over the world are holding a counter-summit, voicing their concerns about NATO policies.
The streets of central Brussels are quiet on Sunday morning as peace activists arrive in a small conference hall near Luxembourg Square. Last year the overall atmosphere in the city was tense, as a counter-summit was held on the same date as the main NATO meeting. Back then, Belgian authorities introduced tough security measures, putting armed soldiers on the streets, as Donald Trump was on his first official visit to the city, which he had called “a hellhole” while running for office.
This time peace activists decided to get together several days ahead of the leaders’ meeting to talk about the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the role it plays in the modern world.
Reiner Braun is the Co-President of the International Peace Bureau and one of the organizers of the Brussels counter-summit. Like many other activists, Braun is concerned with military spending – something that NATO leaders will be discussing this year:
“The first point of this meeting is the “2 percent GDP for military spending”, which is, from our understanding, a totally stupid idea. Why should European countries spend billions…