NATO Secretary General holds first meeting with EU High Representative
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with the new EU High Representative Federica Mogherini at the headquarters of the European External Action Service in Brussels today (Tuesday 4 November). The meeting took place three days after Ms. Mogherini assumed her new functions. “This is a great start to our close cooperation,” NATO Secretary General said. Mr. Stoltenberg stressed that the European Union is NATO’s unique and essential partner and that NATO and the EU have worked for many years side by side in the Western Balkans, Afghanistan, and countering piracy off the Horn of Africa.
Mr. Stoltenberg expressed his personal commitment to further deepening ties between the two organizations: ”I very much look forward to working together with you to make the NATO-EU partnership stronger,” as NATO and the EU “share common values, common assessments, and common challenges”, he said.
The NATO Secretary General and the EU High Representative discussed a range of issues, including shared security challenges to the East and to the South. They touched on the so-called elections organized by armed separatist groups in eastern Ukraine on 2 November. Mr. Stoltenberg noted that these so-called elections “run directly counter to the Minsk agreements” and “NATO Allies will not recognize them”. He said that “recently we have also seen Russian troops moving closer to the border with Ukraine. And Russia continues to support, train and equip the separatists. We call on Russia to make genuine efforts towards a peaceful solution”.
Mr. Stoltenberg and Ms. Mogherini also discussed international efforts to combat the terrorist group ISIL as well as the situation in Libya. “In all these areas of common concern, NATO and the European Union have their own roles. But by working together, we complement each other. And reinforce our common security,” he said. The Secretary General reiterated that “NATO stands ready to help bolster the defence capacity of Iraq, Libya and other partners, if requested”.
As NATO and the EU share 22 members, Mr Stoltenberg stressed that “we all agree that a stronger and more capable European defence will also lead to a stronger NATO. In these challenging times, it is important that European nations continue their efforts to spend more on defence, and to spend better”.
Mr. Stoltenberg said he looked forward to attending a meeting of EU Defence Ministers later this month and invited the EU High Representative to NATO’s next Foreign Ministerial meeting in December.