Introduction

Lennart Meri Conference
April 22–23, 2010, Tallinn, Estonia

In April 2010, when the Lennart Meri Conference was to take place, Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano brought air travel in Europe to a standstill and forced the organisers to cancel the LMC 2010 in its initially planned format. Fortunately, some brave guests managed to overcome the ash cloud and it was with them that we held a foreign policy seminar that served as an alternative for the conference. Among the small circle of participants who had reached Tallinn, the event quickly gained a new pet name – the ‘Volcano Conference’.

In the framework of the seminar, the International Centre for Defence Studies hosted NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on April 22. He delivered a keynote speech titled ‘On Alliance Solidarity in the 21st Century’, which was followed by a panel discussion ‘Solidarity and Security: Within NATO and Beyond It’. The discussion featured Jaak Aaviksoo (Minister of Defence of Estonia), Carl Bildt (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden) and Nickolay Mladenov (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria), with Edward Lucas of The Economist acting as its moderator. The rest of the seminar was held under the Chatham House Rule.