NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed unprecedented levels of cooperation between the EU and NATO ahead of a meeting with the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Tuesday last week.
The Secretary General noted that stronger European defence can contribute to fairer burden-sharing within NATO, but stressed the need for complementarity between NATO and EU efforts.
“NATO remains the bedrock for European security,” he said. Mr. Stoltenberg added that he will also discuss the INF Treaty with EU ministers. “We should all call on Russia to ensure full and transparent compliance with the INF Treaty because we don’t want a new arms race and the INF Treaty has been important for our security for decades,” he underlined.
“When I meet the EU Defence Ministers now, I expect us also to discuss the issue of European defence. I have welcomed EU efforts on defence many times, because I believe that projects such as military mobility, European Defence Fund, PESCO, all of that can contribute to fairer burden-sharing within NATO. It can complement NATO and it can also help to develop new NATO capabilities and also address the fragmentation of the European defence market.
So this is something I have welcomed many many times. But I have been equally clear about the fact that EU efforts must not compete with NATO, must not duplicate NATO, because NATO remains the bedrock for European security. We have to remember that after Brexit 80% of NATO’s defence expenditure will come from non-EU NATO Allies. And 3 of the four battlegroups we have deployed in the eastern part of the Alliance, in the Baltics countries and Poland will be led by non-EU Allies. And also geography matters.
Norway in the North, and Turkey in the South, and Canada, USA and UK in the West are important for European security. So geography and money, these are facts which we cannot ignore.”