NATO Enlargement – When? The first day of Georgia Defence and Security Conference dedicated to NATO, with the special view on the upcoming Warsaw summit. Participants split in two interactive sessions to imitate opponents and proponents of Georgia’s membership into NATO. The second parallel session - NATO Enlargement - When? was moderated by Board Member of the Atlantic Council of Georgia Batu Kutelia. The panelists were: Minister of Defence of the Republic of the Republic of Estonia Hannes Hanso, Georgia’s Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Maisuradze, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary U.S Department of State John Heffern and Director of the Dinu Patriciu Center for Eurasia, the Atlantic Council John Herbst. “During the panel about NATO Enlargement – When? we discussed the terms when we’ll be able to achieve the final outcome of our strategic plan that is called Georgia’s NATO integration. The participants talked about the aspects that can speed up this process. Namely, these are the ongoing reforms, reevaluation of strategic priorities and threats in Europe; these are issues related to Russia and problems connected to territorial integrity of Georgia. If we sum up the panel I’d say everyone had an optimistic expectation that with well-managed and coordinated policy Georgia can achieve this goal earlier than it might seem at a glance. For this we need to strengthen this coordination with wide public support,” Batu Kutelia said. John Herbst talked about the challenges of NATO enlargement to the East. As he said, the major problem today is Russia. John Heffern focused on prospects of Georgia’s membership in NATO and once again reiterated the U.S. support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. He thanked the Georgian side for its contribution to global security and stability. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary U.S Department of State said that Georgia has potential be a leader in reformation process in the region. Georgia’s Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Maisuradze added that Georgia’s strategy is to continue reforms. He also talked about NATO-Georgia cooperation and noted that these issues will be discussed in a wider context at the Warsaw Summit. Minister of Defence of the Republic of the Republic of Estonia Hannes Hanso made special focus on the open door policy of NATO. He said that the door is open for Georgia and gave an example of Montenegro. “The key message is Georgia’s aspiration for NATO’s membership is not a matter of if, but is a matter of when. At the panels actually one asked the questions if, the other asked – when. If your country maintains the reforming process, including the democratic process you do all right things as our countries – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania did in the past. Then a door of NATO will be opened for you. It is very important to stress here that the Bucharest Summit some years ago said that NATO door is opened for Georgia and Ukraine and it is important to stress that it continues to be so,” he said.