According to PETER BÁTOR, with the new US administration, the Alliance's interest in cooperation with the EU has increased. In his view, the pandemic has highlighted the role of the armed forces in assisting not only domestic authorities but also allies. Russia is no longer a strategic partner for NATO, and we are also looking at China differently, which is why the upcoming summit and the Alliance's new strategy will come with big changes, says Slovakia's ambassador to NATO.

Slovak Katarína Kertýsová was also in the group that advised the NATO Secretary General on what topics the Alliance needs to reflect on in the next decade. She said the allies need to prepare for a wider range of threats than in the past. If the two percent commitment to defence spending were reformed, states would also invest in addressing them, not just in military capabilities, she says.

The red line, according to them, is mainly Ukraine. In a discussion on EURACTIV Slovakia, they agreed that the regime in Moscow is stuck and there is no room for fundamental change. However, the dialogue between Brussels and Moscow must be fair: "Every time we show a friendly face to Russia at European level, something happens," says Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď.

Beijing is changing the shape of its own foreign policy. It wants to look like a power to the world and is moving away from a diplomatic tone. The emphasis is on the domestic audience to which it is emphasising its strength, says China expert RICHARD Q. TURCSANYI.

In July, the Commission published its second report on the rule of law in the EU. Although developments in Slovakia have been turbulent over the last two months, this is a different category of problem than in Poland or Hungary. Slovakia should not be a vocal critic in the V4, but a positive example, the panelists agreed.