by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg prior to the European Union Foreign Affairs Council meeting
I’m really looking forward to meet the EU Defence Ministers, and in a few weeks, in the beginning of December, High Representative Federica Mogherini will attend the NATO Foreign Ministerial meeting, and I think this just reflects the unprecedented level of close cooperation between NATO and the EU.
We work together in areas such as cyber, hybrid and maritime, and also exercises. Just now we are exercising side by side, so I really welcome that NATO and EU are able to work more closely together than we have done ever before.
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.
I will also raise with the EU ministers one challenge we all face and that is the new Russian missiles which are putting the INF Treaty in jeopardy. Russia has developed, tested and also fielded new missiles, SSC-8, for years. These missiles are mobile, hard to detect, nuclear capable and they are putting the INF Treaty in jeopardy. The US is in full compliance with the INF Treaty, there are no new US missiles in Europe, but there are new Russian missiles in Europe, and therefore 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.
Q: (ZDF) - Does Europe really need a European Army?
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: What Europe needs is more investment in defence, stronger capabilities, and we also need fairer burden sharing within the Alliance. And therefore I welcome EU efforts on defence, as for instance the European Defence Fund, military mobility or PESCO. Because I believe that can improve burden-sharing within NATO, it can provide new European capabilities. But this should never compete with NATO, it should complement NATO and thereby strengthen NATO by strengthening the European contributions to our shared security and collective defence.