EU leaders discuss security and defence with NATO’s Stoltenberg

Charles Michel will soon pay a visit to Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine

Photo: EU Jens Stoltenberg and Charles Michel (L-R).

On Friday, the EU leaders started the second day of their video conference with a session on security and defence. With North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg they will exchange views on EU-NATO cooperation. High Representative Josep Borrell will update leaders on ongoing work on the Strategic Compass.

In a joint-doorstep with Stoltenberg, before the start of the meeting, European Council President Charles Michel stressed that “NATO played and plays a key role in binding North America and Europe”.

We share the same democratic values, we have common strategic interests and I am totally convinced that the new Biden administration offers a unique opportunity to renew the strong trans-Atlantic alliance between Europe and the United States, Michel stated.

We want more stability and more predictability in our immediate neighbourhood, and we need to discuss the tools we are ready to use in order to reach this goal, EUCO President defined. On the new kinds of threats, such as cyber, hybrid, and disinformation, he said EU and NATO “need to strengthen our resilience and also need to adapt our tools”.

“And my third point is a question of the industrial basis that we need to strengthen, and the technological base that we need to improve. And we see that there are possible synergies between the digital, space and defence, “ Michel detailed. 

I'm convinced that strong partnerships require strong partners and it is why I am convinced that a stronger European Union is a stronger NATO, he also underlined.

Stoltenberg said he welcomes the very strong message from the new Biden administration, to rebuild alliances, to strengthen the transatlantic bond. And this will be also the main issue when NATO leaders meet later this year in Brussels.

I look forward to continuing to working with you and the European Union on issues like resilience, like cyber, like countering the effects of climate change, and also continue to work on issues where we have been working together for many years like stabilising the Western Balkans and tackling migration in the Aegean, NATO chief said.

The relations with the Southern Neighbourhood will be also on the table of the EU leaders. On Thursday evening, after the first day of the “summit” became clear that Charles Michel will travel to Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine from 28 February to 3 March.

In Chisinau, he will meet with President Maia Sandu before flying to Georgia where he will meet President Salome Zourabichvili, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili and Archil Talakvadze, the Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia. He will also visit the administrative boundary line and meet representatives of the opposition.

In Ukraine, he will join President Zelenskyy in visiting eastern Ukraine before discussing EU-Ukraine relations in Kyiv and meeting with representatives of institutions fighting corruption.

In addition to bilateral relations and the common fight against Covid-19, the future of the Eastern Partnership will also feature high on the agenda of the visit.

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