Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Spain announced plans to call for an update of the NATO policy roadmap to include illegal migration as a hybrid threat.
José Manuel Albares, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, EU and Cooperation, pointed out in an interview that other hybrid threats should be included in the roadmap, such as terrorism and food insecurity, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Spain is to host the NATO summit slated for the end of June in Madrid, where the alliance’s roadmap for the next decade is to be drafted.
The country is pushing NATO to focus more on non-military threats, especially on the south of the alliance.
Albares pointed out that Russian influence in Sahel and Maghreb is growing as NATO focuses on the conflict in Ukraine on its eastern border.
“We want an acknowledgement that there are also serious threats coming from the southern flank,” he noted and added “terrorism, cybersecurity, the political use of energy resources and of irregular migration all impinge on our sovereignty.”
NATO sources noted that the alliance is unlikely to make firm commitments to its southern border because it is focusing on the war in Ukraine and Baltic countries’ calls for more resources.
They added that issues surrounding migration are too divisive for the alliance to reach an agreement in Madrid despite Italy and Portugal’s support for the Spanish campaign.
Albares stressed that merely adding these hybrid threats to the NATO roadmap and mentioning the southern border as a region to be monitored would be sufficient for deterrence, which Spain wants for border protection.
“Nothing new needs to be done, it must just be borne in mind that a number of threats may emanate from the southern flank that at some point may require a NATO defensive reaction in exactly the same way as we are seeing on the eastern flank,” he noted.
According to Albares, the alliance should respond in force to any military threats from the south, but NATO could use technology and non-conventional resources to respond to threats like weaponisation of illegal migration and cyberattacks.
He concluded that hybrid threats can be used “to challenge our territorial integrity and sovereignty.”