NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, met on 10 January 2023 at NATO Headquarters to sign the third Joint Declaration on NATO-European Union cooperation.
Speaking at a press conference following the signing, Mr. Stoltenberg stressed the importance of NATO-EU cooperation in the context of the changed security environment following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He further noted that the NATO-EU partnership “will become even more important once Finland and Sweden become full NATO members,” and that “with their accession, NATO will be protecting 96% of the citizens in the European Union, and a higher share of its territory than ever before.”
“We have just signed the third joint EU-NATO declaration to further deepen our strategic partnership. This is more important than ever…President Putin wanted to invade Ukraine in three days and divide us. He failed on both counts,” Stoltenberg said.
According to him, the Russian regime seeks to change the security order in Europe and control all its neighbors.
“Therefore, we must strengthen transatlantic ties, strengthen the partnership between the EU and NATO and we must strengthen our support for Ukraine,” the Secretary-General said.
Stoltenberg noted that China’s behavior also requires an appropriate response from allies.
The leaders resolved to address growing geostrategic competition, resilience issues, and the protection of critical infrastructures. Other priority areas of work will include emerging and disruptive technologies, space, the security implications of climate change, foreign interference, and information manipulation. The Secretary-General underlined that the Joint Declaration “recognizes the value of a more capable European defense that contributes positively to our security and is complementary to, and interoperable with, NATO.”
The declaration condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the “gravest threat to Euro-Atlantic security in decades” which violates international law and the principles of the UN Charter, undermines European and global security and stability, and has exacerbated a food and energy crisis affecting billions of people around the world. It calls upon Russia to withdraw from Ukraine.
“We express our full solidarity with Ukraine and reiterate our unwavering and continued support for its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. We fully support Ukraine’s inherent right to self-defense and to choose its own destiny,” the declaration reads.