World Bulletin / News Desk
The signing ceremony at the EU headquarters in Brussels was attended by President of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg, ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels.
Addressing a joint press conference with EU leaders, Juncker pointed to strengthening cooperation since the last NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016.
"I wanted to welcome today's Declaration which is an important landmark in our partnership. It builds on what we have already achieved together over the last two years and it strengthens our commitments to one another."
Juncker also highlighted the progress in investment in security and defense.
"This is why as part of our new budgetary proposals we, the Commission, have proposed to increase defense spending by 22 times, bringing total defense spending to EUR 27.5 billion [$32.2 billion] from 2021 to 2027," Juncker said.
Stoltenberg said the declaration signed "is a strong commitment to strengthen the cooperation between the European Union and NATO."
"And today’s declaration builds on the one we signed in Warsaw two years ago. Since then, NATO and the EU have achieved an unprecedented level of cooperation," he said.
"Two years ago in Warsaw, we came together to strengthen EU-NATO cooperation aiming to promote peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. Our respective efforts are mutually reinforcing, have improved the security of our citizens and strengthened our trans-Atlantic bond," the declaration said.
Within the objectives set in 2016 joint declaration, the EU leaders agreed to boost cooperation "in the Mediterranean to fight migrant smuggling and trafficking, hybrid threats, cyber-attacks, preparedness for crises, parallel and coordinated exercises as well as the defense and security."
Underlining the essential cooperation of NATO and the EU in the face of multiple and evolving security challenges and commitment to deepen this cooperation further, the declaration said: "It is now important to focus on implementation."
In this context, NATO and the EU agreed to aim for swift and demonstrable progress in particular in "military mobility, counter-terrorism, strengthening resilience to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear-related risks and promoting the women peace and security agenda."