by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the joint press point with President of the European Council Donald Tusk
President Tusk, it was a great pleasure to meet you again.
Only a couple of days after you have taken office.
We agree that the relationship between NATO and the European Union is fundamental.
We share the same values, to which you have been dedicated your whole life.
And we share the same challenges.
To the east and to the south.
We discussed developments in Russia and Ukraine. Russia’s actions continue to destabilise Ukraine.
And undermine Euro-Atlantic stability.
Russia has violated fundamental principles.
That borders cannot be changed by force. Disputes should be settled by talks, not by tanks. And the era of spheres of influence is over.
Those principles are the basis of the peaceful Europe we have built for two decades – together with Russia.
We maintain our channels of dialogue open, but Russia has to return to those fundamental principles.
To ensure stability Europe, we must keep NATO strong. And a stronger Europe will also contribute to that goal.
At the NATO Summit in Wales we agreed to stop the cuts in our defence budgets, gradually increase them as our economies recover, and to invest better by cooperating more.
The European Council this year will be a crucial stepping stone to meeting this pledge.
So it is important for all of us that we continue to work together.
And that our efforts reinforce each other.
So that in a dangerous world, we can be stronger together.
President Tusk, I very much look forward to working closely with you in your new role.