European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg signed the third Joint Declaration on Cooperation on January 10 in Brussels at the Alliance’s headquarters.
The NATO press service reported this.
The document is aimed at further strengthening and expanding the strategic partnership, the report says.
The priority task of the EU and the North Atlantic Alliance was called “the growing geostrategic rivalry, the problem of stability and the protection of critical infrastructure”.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized the importance of cooperation between the Alliance and the European Union in the context of “the changed situation in the field of security” after Russia invaded Ukraine. He also noted that the partnership between NATO and the EU “will become even more important” as soon as Finland and Sweden become full members of the bloc.
At the press conference, Stoltenberg said that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to “see a different Europe” and “control” his neighbors.
According to him, Putin considers “democracy and freedom as a threat”, so NATO and the EU should continue strengthening their partnership.
“Almost a year ago, a few hours after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the three of us [Charles Michel, Ursula von der Leyen, and Jens Stoltenberg] met here at NATO headquarters. President Putin wanted to take over Ukraine in a few days and divide us . In both cases, he clearly failed. Russian troops were pushed back by brave Ukrainian troops. And NATO and the European Union united to support Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.
Michel, von der Leyen, and Stoltenberg stressed that support for Ukraine will continue.
“Ukrainians should get all the necessary military equipment that they need and can handle to protect their Motherland. And these are, of course, advanced air defense systems, as well as other types of advanced military equipment, if it is necessary to protect Ukraine. They protect the basic principles Charters of fundamental rights [of the EU], the UN, and international law,” said European Commission President von der Leyen.
“There is the aggressor, i.e. the Kremlin, and there is the victim, i.e. the people of Ukraine. And I am very glad that in the last weeks and months after the start of the war, the member states managed to supply Ukraine with more and more military equipment… The European Council has repeatedly called for more military support for Ukrainians to make sure that they will be able to defend themselves,” said the head of the European Council.
The declaration was developed for more than a year, Politico noted.
“The document was originally expected to be signed at the NATO summit in Madrid last June, but, according to diplomats, it was delayed due to tensions between Turkey and Cyprus,” the article said.
On February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an invasion of Ukraine. At first, according to the SBU, he hoped to seize Ukraine in a few days. But the blitzkrieg failed. In April, Russian troops were expelled from the northern regions, and now the fighting is going on in the east and south of the country.
NATO and the European Union separately repeatedly condemned Russian aggression and provided support to Ukraine.