NATO Secretary General, Mr. Stoltenberg, who is attending the European Union Foreign Affairs Council in Brussel today, says Europe has to step up and invest more in defence.
- Today we will discuss how we can further strengthen the cooperation between the EU and NATO, Stoltenberg said in a short doorstep comment at the Justus Lipsius Building in Brussels earlier today.
- I’m looking forward to meet the EU Defence Ministers and next month High Representative Federica Mogherini will meet with the foreign ministers of NATO so this is just yet another example of the close cooperation between the EU and NATO, he continued.
- Stronger cooperation will strengthen defence
- A stronger NATO-EU cooperation will also strengthen the European defence and I welcome the decision made yesterday by the defence ministers and foreign ministers of the EU on the implementation of security and defence of the global strategy. My message has been, since I became Secretary General of NATO, that Europe has to do more, Europe has to step up, Europe has to invest more in defence and that is what we see is happening so I welcome that after many years of cuts in defence spending Europe is now increasing defence spending as a response to a more dangerous and more challenging security environment. This has been my message since I became Secretary General and I will continue to convey the strong message of more defence spending in Europe to respond to a more challenging security environment.
In July Stoltenberg signed a joint declaration with President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker:
- We will today discuss how we implement that declaration in many different areas, for instance like maritime cooperation, like exercises but also on the issue of development of capabilities in NATO and the EU, he continued.
NATO: - EU is a unique and essential partner
The Foreign Affairs Council is responsible for the EU's external action, which includes foreign policy, defence and security, trade, development cooperation and humanitarian aid.
“Sharing strategic interests and facing the same challenges, NATO and the European Union (EU) cooperate on issues of common interest and are working side by side in crisis management, capability development and political consultations. The EU is a unique and essential partner for NATO. The two organisations share a majority of members and have common values”, reads the treaty organizations webpages on “Relations with the European Union” that were updated yesterday.
NATO and the EU currently have 22 member countries in common.
Institutionalised relations between NATO and the EU were launched in 2001, building on steps taken during the 1990s to promote greater European responsibility in defence matters (NATO-Western European Union cooperation.)