NATO, EU pledge to expand cooperation amid war in Ukraine

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Spurred by the war in Ukraine, top NATO and EU officials pledged to expand cooperation between the two institutions in a joint declaration signed on Tuesday in Brussels.

Cooperation “is more important than ever,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after the signing at the alliance’s headquarters alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel.

“We must continue to strengthen the partnership between NATO and the European Union and we must further strengthen our support to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg recalled a meeting between the three officials hours after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last February,  to highlight their close relations.

“Russian President,  Putin wanted to take Ukraine in a few days and to divide us. On both counts, he has clearly failed,” he said.

Tuesday’s Joint Declaration on NATO-EU Cooperation is a new attempt to drive cooperation between the institutions forward, pledging to improve collaborative efforts to protect critical infrastructure.

NATO and the EU also aim to cooperate in the future on the security implications of climate change, space, foreign interference and information manipulation, Stoltenberg said.

The declaration also mentioned China explicitly for the first time. “China’s growing assertiveness and policies present challenges that we need to address,” he added.

Substantially expanding formal cooperation between the two institutions is challenging as NATO-member Turkey does not recognise EU-member Republic of Cyprus. (dpa/NAN)