NATO Secretary General discusses closer cooperation with EU Defence Ministers
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is meeting with EU Defence Ministers on Friday (5 February 2016) to discuss shared security challenges and stronger cooperation between the European Union and NATO. He stressed the importance of working more closely to address hybrid threats and violent instability in the South.
Mr. Stoltenberg welcomed the United States’ plans for an increased military presence in Europe, calling it “an important sign, and part of the adaptation of the Alliance to a more demanding security environment.” He also welcomed the commitment of European Allies to step up defence spending, noting that “last year the cuts in defence spending in Europe practically stopped.” He added, “the picture is still mixed, but we are moving now in the right direction.”
The Secretary General also highlighted NATO’s support for all efforts to find a peaceful, political solution to the conflict in Syria. “What we have seen is that the intense Russian airstrikes, mainly targeting opposition troops in Syria, is undermining the efforts to find a political solution to the conflict,” said Mr. Stoltenberg. He noted that Russian military presence in Syria “is also causing increased tensions and violations of Turkish airspace,” and called for calm and de-escalation.