Relations with the European Union
The European Union (EU) is a unique and essential partner for NATO. Sharing strategic interests and facing similar threats and challenges, NATO and the EU work side by side in crisis management, on capability development, in providing support to their common partners in the east and south, as well as to address the challenges posed by growing strategic competition.
- Relations between NATO and the EU were institutionalised in the early 2000s, building on steps taken during the 1990s to promote greater European responsibility in defence matters (NATO-Western European Union cooperation1).
- NATO and the EU play complementary, coherent and mutually reinforcing roles in supporting international peace and security.
- The development of European defence capabilities is a key element of joint efforts to make the Euro-Atlantic area safer, and it contributes to transatlantic burden-sharing. In developing these capabilities, NATO Allies must ensure coherence and complementarity, and avoid unnecessary duplication.
- Close cooperation between NATO and the EU is an important element in the development of an international comprehensive approach to crisis management and operations, which requires the effective application of both military and civilian means.
- NATO and the EU stand united in condemning Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and in supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and right to self-defence.
- The 2022 Strategic Concept – the Alliance’s core policy document, which sets NATO’s strategic direction for the coming years – describes the European Union as a unique and essential partner for NATO and calls for an enhanced and strengthened strategic partnership.
- In January 2023, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen signed the third Joint Declaration on EU-NATO Cooperation to further strengthen and expand the strategic partnership between NATO and the EU. The third Joint Declaration builds on the unprecedented progress in cooperation between the two organisations since previous declarations were signed in 2016 and 2018.
- NATO and the EU currently have 22 member countries in common.2 For the development of the strategic partnership between NATO and the EU, non-EU Allies’ fullest involvement in EU defence efforts is essential.
- Membership and participation
- Framework for cooperation
- Towards a more strategic partnership
- Key areas of cooperation
Membership and participation
NATO and the EU have 22 member countries in common: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. Following the NATO Summit in July 2023 in Vilnius, the accession process for Sweden’s membership in the Alliance is being finalised.
Furthermore, a number of countries that are members of NATO but not of the EU participate in all NATO-EU meetings. This includes Albania, Canada, Iceland, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Türkiye, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Austria, Ireland, Malta and Sweden, which are members of the EU and of NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme, also participate in all NATO-EU meetings. Cyprus – which is an EU member but does not participate in the PfP programme and does not have a security agreement with NATO on the exchange of classified documents – participates in informal NATO-EU meetings involving all members of NATO and the EU. This is a consequence of decisions taken by NATO in December 2002.
Framework for cooperation
An exchange of letters between the NATO Secretary General and the EU Presidency in January 2001 defined the scope of cooperation and modalities of consultation on security issues between the two organisations. Cooperation further developed with the signing of the NATO-EU Declaration on European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) in December 2002 and the agreement, in March 2003, of a framework for cooperation.
NATO-EU Declaration on ESDP: The NATO-EU Declaration on ESDP, agreed on 16 December 2002, reaffirmed the EU assured access to NATO’s planning capabilities for its own military operations and reiterated the political principles of the strategic partnership: effective mutual consultation; equality and due regard for the decision-making autonomy of the EU and NATO; respect for the interests of EU and NATO member states; respect for the principles of the Charter of the United Nations; and coherent, transparent and mutually reinforcing development of the military capability requirements common to the two organisations.
The “Berlin Plus” arrangements: As part of the framework for cooperation adopted on 17 March 2003, the so-called “Berlin Plus” arrangements provide the basis for NATO-EU cooperation in crisis management in the context of EU-led military operations that make use of NATO's collective assets and capabilities, including command arrangements and assistance in operational planning. In effect, they allow the Alliance to support EU-led operations in which NATO as a whole is not engaged.
Joint Declarations on EU-NATO Cooperation: Since the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw, NATO and the EU have issued three Joint Declarations (in 2016, 2018 and 2023). These declarations have outlined a series of actions for the two organisations to take together in concrete areas, strengthening and expanding the NATO-EU strategic partnership in light of common challenges. All three declarations were signed by the NATO Secretary General, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission.
NATO and the EU meet on a regular basis to discuss issues of common interest. Meetings take place at different levels including at the level of Defence and Foreign Ministers, ambassadors, military representatives and defence advisors. There are regular staff-to-staff talks at all levels between NATO’s International Staff and International Military Staff, and their respective EU interlocutors (the European External Action Service, the European Defence Agency, the European Commission and the European Parliament).
Permanent military liaison arrangements have been established to facilitate cooperation at the operational level. A NATO Permanent Liaison Team has been operating at the EU Military Staff since November 2005 and an EU Cell was set up at SHAPE (NATO’s strategic command for operations in Mons, Belgium) in March 2006.
Towards a more strategic partnership
Strengthening the NATO-EU strategic partnership is particularly important in the current security environment, in which both organisations and their members are facing the same challenges to the east and south.
NATO-EU cooperation stretches back more than two decades, and has significantly expanded in recent years, building on three Joint Declarations (in 2016, 2018 and 2023), as well as the NATO Strategic Concept and EU Strategic Compass in 2022.
At the July 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw, the NATO Secretary General, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission issued the first Joint Declaration, outlining a series of actions for the two organisations to take together in concrete areas. As a follow-up, in December 2016, NATO Foreign Ministers endorsed 42 specific measures to advance how NATO and the EU work together in seven key areas of common interest: countering hybrid threats; cooperation in operations, including in the maritime domain; cyber security and defence; development of defence capabilities; defence industry and research; exercises; and defence and security capacity building for partners. Building on this positive momentum, in December 2017, further steps were taken to boost NATO-EU cooperation through the addition of 32 new measures, including in three new areas: military mobility to facilitate the movement of forces and equipment across Europe; information-sharing in the fight against terrorism and coordination of counter-terrorism support in partner countries; and promoting the role of women in peace and security.
At the July 2018 Brussels Summit, Allied Leaders welcomed the second Joint Declaration and the tangible results achieved in a range of areas, underlining their determination to develop and deepen cooperation by fully implementing the common set of 74 proposals. They recognised that the development of coherent, complementary and interoperable defence capabilities, avoiding duplication, is key to joint efforts to make the Euro-Atlantic area safer. NATO Leaders also welcomed the call for deeper NATO-EU cooperation by the European Council in June 2018 and recognised that the ongoing distinct strategic processes within NATO and the EU offer an opportunity for further intensification of consultations and cooperation between the two organisations.
The third Joint Declaration was signed by the NATO Secretary General, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission on 10 January 2023 at NATO Headquarters. Following the adoption of the 2022 NATO Strategic Concept and the EU Strategic Compass, the third Joint Declaration aims to strengthen and expand the strategic partnership between NATO and the EU, building on unprecedented progress in cooperation between the two organisations since the previous declarations were signed in 2016 and 2018. The heads of the two organisations resolved to address growing geostrategic competition, resilience issues and the protection of critical infrastructure. Other priority areas of work include emerging and disruptive technologies, space, the security implications of climate change, and countering foreign interference and information manipulation.
The NATO Secretary General and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission regularly report to NATO Allies and EU member states on progress in cooperation. (See progress reports under Official Texts.)
Non-EU European Allies make a significant contribution to these efforts. For the strategic partnership between NATO and the EU, their fullest involvement in these efforts is essential.
The range of subjects discussed between NATO and the EU has expanded considerably over the past several years. Political dialogue covers the full spectrum of issues relevant to both organisations, including cyber and hybrid threats, strategic challenges posed by Russia and China, and the security situation in the Western Balkans, the Middle East and Afghanistan. Since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, and especially since Russia escalated its war of aggression with its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, both organisations have clearly demonstrated commonality of approach and complementarity, especially with regard to their respective assistance to Ukraine.
Key areas of cooperation
Combatting human trafficking in the Aegean and the Central Mediterranean
NATO Defence Ministers decided on 11 February 2016 to launch the Alliance’s Aegean Activity, deploying ships to the Aegean Sea to support Greece and Türkiye, as well as the European Union's border agency Frontex, in their efforts to tackle the refugee and migrant crisis. Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) is conducting reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance in the territorial waters of Greece and Türkiye, as well as in international waters. The deployment in the Aegean Sea aims to support international efforts to cut the lines of human trafficking and illegal migration. NATO ships are providing real-time information to the coastguards and relevant national authorities of Greece and Türkiye, as well as to Frontex, helping them in their efforts to tackle this crisis.
In October 2016, Defence Ministers extended NATO's deployment in the Aegean Sea and decided that NATO's new Operation Sea Guardian would support the EU's Operation Sophia in the Central Mediterranean with NATO ships and planes, help increase the EU's situational awareness and provide logistical support. (Operation Sophia ended on 31 March 2020.)
The Western Balkans
In July 2003, the EU and NATO published a "Concerted Approach for the Western Balkans". Jointly drafted, it outlines core areas of cooperation and emphasises the common vision and determination both organisations share to bring stability to the region.
- The Republic of North Macedonia
On 31 March 2003, the EU-led Operation Concordia took over the responsibilities of the NATO-led mission, Operation Allied Harmony, in the country at the time known as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. This mission, which ended in December 2003, was the first "Berlin Plus" operation in which NATO assets were made available to the EU.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
Building on the results of Concordia and following the conclusion of the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EU deployed a new mission called Operation Althea on 2 December 2004. The EU Force (EUFOR) operates under the "Berlin Plus" arrangements, drawing on NATO planning expertise and on other Alliance assets and capabilities. The Vice-Chief of Staff SHAPE is the Commander of Operation Althea. The EU Operation Headquarters (OHQ) is located at SHAPE (NATO’s strategic command for operations, located in Mons, Belgium).
NATO has been leading a peacekeeping force in Kosovo (KFOR) since 1999. The EU has contributed civil assets to the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) for years and agreed to take over the police component of the UN Mission. The European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) in Kosovo, which deployed in December 2008, is the largest civilian mission ever launched under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The central aim is to assist and support the Kosovo authorities in the rule of law area, specifically in the police, judiciary and customs areas. EULEX works closely with KFOR in the field.
Cooperation in other regions
Both NATO and the EU are increasing their presence in Iraq. The EU is focusing on the civilian security sector. NATO is helping build the capacities of the Iraqi defence and security structures, and is scaling up these efforts with a non-combat advisory mission launched at the Brussels Summit in July 2018, at the request of the government of Iraq. NATO Mission Iraq complements the ongoing efforts of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and other international actors.
NATO and the EU played key roles as part of the international community's efforts in Afghanistan. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) helped create a stable and secure environment in which the Afghan government as well as other international actors could build democratic institutions, extend the rule of law and reconstruct the country. Both ISAF and its successor Resolute Support Mission (RSM) cooperated with the EU's Rule of Law Mission (EUPOL), which operated in Afghanistan from June 2007 to December 2016. EUPOL Advisers at the Afghan Ministry of Interior and the Afghan National Police supported the reform of the ministry and the development of civilian policing. The EU also initiated a programme for justice reform and helped to fund civilian projects in NATO-run Provincial Reconstruction Teams that were each led by an EU member country. In April 2021, the Allies decided to start the withdrawal of RSM forces by 1 May 2021 and the mission was terminated in early September 2021.
Both NATO and the EU supported the African Union's mission in Darfur, Sudan in particular with regard to airlift rotations.
For several years NATO’s naval forces deployed under Operation Ocean Shield (2009-2016) and EU naval forces (Operation Atalanta) worked side by side with other actors, off the coast of Somalia for anti-piracy missions.
Development of defence capabilities
Twenty-two NATO Allies are also EU Member States, each of which has finite resources and a single set of forces. Ensuring the coherence of NATO and EU defence capability development efforts is therefore a priority for both organisations. Work is under way to ensure consistency between the output of the EU’s Capability Development Plan (CDP), Headline Goal Process (HLGP) and Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), and the respective NATO processes – such as the NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP) and the Partnership for Peace Planning and Review Process (PARP) – in particular through cross-participation in meetings and staff-to-staff contacts.
NATO and EU staff also work together in the context of multinational capability development within the EU defence initiatives and NATO’s multinational High Visibility Projects. In view of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, cooperation on munitions – in the land and air domains particularly – has become a special focus to sustain support to Ukraine and replenish EU Member States’ and NATO Allies’ stocks. Overall, expert meetings at staff level continue to ensure awareness and complementarity of efforts as well as avoid unnecessary duplication.
NATO-EU cooperation on military mobility is also essential. Both organisations strive to ensure that their respective approaches are coherent and seek synergies wherever possible. A Structured Dialogue on Military Mobility, bringing together key stakeholders of both organisations, is crucial in this respect. Set up in 2018, it allows staffs to discuss shared priorities such as military requirements, transport infrastructure, transport of dangerous goods, customs, cross-border movement permissions and relevant exercises, as well as mutual updates on respective work. Since 2018, NATO has been contributing to the development and updates of the EU’s Military Requirements for Military Mobility within and beyond the EU, in particular with regard to critical transport infrastructure.
Countering hybrid threats
NATO and the EU continue to strengthen their cooperation and coordination on countering hybrid threats. NATO and EU staff-to-staff consultations have intensified in order to complement the two organisations` work and to avoid any duplication. The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats located in Helsinki, Finland functions as an arena for exchanges between NATO and the EU, bringing the two organisations closer together.
Cyber security and defence
NATO and EU staff regularly engage on strategic, policy and legislative cyber security and defence developments to achieve shared situational awareness and promote further complementarities. They continue to engage on cyber crisis management and response mechanisms. In addition, staffs continue to consult on cyber capacity building for partners.
NATO and EU staff also observe and participate in each other’s cyber defence exercises, including exercises organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Tallinn, Estonia. Exchanges continue on concepts and doctrines as well as training and education, including between the EU Military Staff and NATO International Military Staff. The Technical Arrangement on Cyber Defence between the NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (now known as the NATO Cyber Security Centre) and the Computer Emergency Response Team for the EU institutions, bodies and agencies (CERT-EU) provides a framework for exchanging information and sharing best practices between emergency response teams.
NATO and the EU have stepped up their efforts and close interaction in the field of crisis management exercises, which contribute to increasing the resilience and preparedness of both organisations and their respective memberships. For example, in 2022-2023, NATO and the EU followed the Plan for Implementation of Parallel and Coordinated Exercises (PACE). This saw NATO staff participating in the relevant planning and conduct phases of the EU Integrated Resolve Exercise (under PACE22). In a reciprocal fashion, staff from the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European External Action Service participated in the planning and conduct of NATO’s Crisis Management Exercise 2023 (under PACE23).
Terrorism and WMD proliferation
Both NATO and the EU are committed to combatting terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). They have exchanged information on their activities in the field of protection of civilian populations against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks.
Resilience, civil preparedness and critical infrastructure protection
The current unpredictable security environment has led to a renewed focus on civil preparedness and resilience. Modern societies are highly complex, with integrated and interdependent sectors and vital services. They rely on supporting critical infrastructure, such as power or Internet-based communication, to function. While such a high level of interconnectedness is more efficient and allows for economies of scale, greater interdependencies also increase the risk of cascading effects in the event of a disruption. This makes critical infrastructure attractive targets for hybrid tactics.
NATO and the EU have stepped up their cooperation to address vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure as well as to improve transport and regulatory aspects of military mobility, with a focus on coordinated border-crossing legislation, regulations and procedures, including for the transportation of dangerous goods.
In January 2023, the NATO Secretary General and the President of the European Commission agreed to create a Task Force on resilience and critical infrastructure protection. The Task Force focused on mapping out current security challenges, and the particular importance of resilience in energy, transport, digital infrastructure and space. It released its Final Assessment Report in June 2023, making a number of key recommendations to deepen NATO-EU cooperation, including through more information exchanges, work to identify alternate transport routes for civilian and military mobility, and closer ties in security research.
- At that time, the Western European Union (WEU) was acting for the European Union in the area of security and defence (1992 Maastricht Treaty). The WEU's crisis-management role was transferred to the European Union in 1999.
- 31 NATO member countries: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Türkiye, United Kingdom, United States. 27 EU member countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
February 1992: The EU adopts the Maastricht Treaty, which envisages an intergovernmental Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the eventual framing of a common defence policy (ESDP) with the WEU as the EU's defence component.
Close cooperation is established between NATO and the WEU.
June 1992: In Oslo, NATO Foreign Ministers support the objective of developing the WEU as a means of strengthening the European pillar of the Alliance and as the defence component of the EU, that would also cover the “Petersberg tasks” (humanitarian search and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks, crisis-management tasks including peace enforcement and environmental protection).
January 1994: Allied Leaders agree to make collective assets of the Alliance available, on the basis of consultations in the North Atlantic Council, for WEU operations undertaken by the European Allies in pursuit of their CFSP. NATO endorses the concept of Combined Joint Task Forces, which provides for “separable but not separate” deployable headquarters that could be used for European-led operations and is the conceptual basis for future operations involving NATO and other non-NATO countries.
June 1996: In Berlin, NATO Foreign Ministers agree for the first time to build up a European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) within NATO, with the aim of rebalancing roles and responsibilities between Europe and North America. An essential part of this initiative was to improve European capabilities. They also decide to make Alliance assets available for WEU-led crisis-management operations. These decisions lead to the introduction of the term "Berlin Plus".
December 1998: At their summit in St Malo, France and the United Kingdom make a joint statement affirming the EU's determination to establish a European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).
April 1999: At the 1999 NATO Summit in Washington, NATO Heads of State and Government decide to develop the “Berlin Plus” arrangements.
June 1999: A European Council meeting in Cologne, Germany decides "to give the European Union the necessary means and capabilities to assume its responsibilities regarding a common European policy on security and defence".
December 1999: At the Helsinki Council meeting, EU member states establish military "headline goals" to allow the EU to deploy up to 60,000 troops by 2003 for ‘Petersberg tasks'. EU members also create political and military structures including a Political and Security Committee, a Military Committee and a Military Staff. The crisis-management role of the WEU is transferred to the EU. The WEU retains residual tasks.
September 2000: The North Atlantic Council and the EU’s interim Political and Security Committee meet for the first time to take stock of progress in NATO-EU relations.
December 2000: Signature of the EU's Treaty of Nice containing amendments reflecting the operative developments of the ESDP as an independent EU policy (entry into force February 2003).
January 2001: Beginning of institutionalised relations between NATO and the EU with the establishment of joint meetings, including at the level of Foreign Ministers and ambassadors. Exchange of letters between the NATO Secretary General and the EU Presidency on the scope of cooperation and modalities for consultation.
May 2001: First formal NATO-EU meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers in Budapest. The NATO Secretary General and the EU Presidency issue a joint statement on the Western Balkans.
November 2002: At the 2002 NATO Summit in Prague, NATO members declare their readiness to give the EU access to NATO assets and capabilities for operations in which the Alliance is not engaged militarily.
December 2002: The EU-NATO Declaration on ESDP is issued.
March 2003: Agreement on the framework for cooperation. Entry into force of a NATO-EU security of information agreement. Transition from the NATO-led Operation Allied Harmony to the EU-led Operation Concordia in the Republic of North Macedonia (then known as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).
May 2003: First meeting of the NATO-EU Capability Group.
July 2003: Development of a common strategy for the Western Balkans.
November 2003: First joint NATO-EU crisis-management exercise.
February 2004: France, Germany and the United Kingdom launch the idea of EU rapid-reaction units composed of joint battle groups.
December 2004: Beginning of the EU-led Operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
October 2005: Agreement on Military Permanent Arrangements establishing a NATO Permanent Liaison Team at the EU Military Staff and an EU cell at SHAPE.
November 2005: A permanent NATO Liaison Team is set up at the EU Military Staff.
March 2006: An EU cell is set up at SHAPE.
2005 - 2012: Transatlantic informal NATO-EU ministerial dinners are held in New York (Sep. 2005 and Sep. 2006); Sofia (Apr. 2006); Brussels (Jan. 2007); Oslo (April 2007); New York (Sep. 2007); Brussels (Dec. 2007); New York (Sep. 2008); Brussels (Dec. 2008); Brussels (March 2009); and New York (Sep. 2010, 2011 and 2012).
November 2010: At the 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon, the Allies underline their determination to improve the NATO-EU strategic partnership and welcome recent initiatives from several Allies and ideas proposed by the Secretary General in this regard.
11 February 2013: President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso visits NATO Headquarters.
May 2013: The NATO Secretary General addresses the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Security and Defence.
June 2013: The NATO Secretary General participates in an informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers.
December 2013: The NATO Secretary General addresses the European Council in Brussels.
5 March 2014: NATO and EU Political and Security Committee (PSC) ambassadors hold informal talks on Ukraine during Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. A second round of talks takes place on 10 June 2014.
10 February 2016: A Technical Arrangement on Cyber Defence was concluded between the NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (now known as the NATO Cyber Security Centre) and the Computer Emergency Response Team of the European Union (CERT-EU), providing a framework for exchanging information and sharing best practices between emergency response teams.
11 February 2016: At the request of Germany, Greece and Türkiye, NATO Defence Ministers agree that the Alliance should join international efforts to stem human trafficking and illegal migration in the Aegean Sea, cooperating with the European Union's border management agency, Frontex.
10 March 2016: Visiting the European Commission to meet Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stresses the vital importance of the NATO-EU relationship and welcomes the organisations’ deepening ties.
12-13 May 2016: An informal EU-NATO Directors General Conference takes place at NATO Headquarters to enhance staff-to-staff interaction between the organisations’ respective military staffs on topics of current relevance and common interest related to security and defence.
20 May 2016: EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini visits NATO Headquarters for a meeting with NATO Foreign Ministers to discuss areas for expanded NATO-EU cooperation ahead of upcoming EU and NATO summit meetings.
July 2016: At the 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw, a Joint Declaration expresses the determination to give new impetus and new substance to the NATO-EU strategic partnership in light of common challenges. Areas for strengthened cooperation include: countering hybrid threats; operational cooperation including at sea; cyber security and defence; defence capabilities; defence industrial cooperation; exercises; and building the defence capabilities of partners to the east and south.
27 October 2016: NATO Defence Ministers meet with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and the Defence Ministers of then-partners Finland (now a NATO member) and Sweden (now a NATO Invitee) to discuss ways to deepen NATO-EU cooperation in the areas of countering hybrid threats, cyber defence, coordinated exercises and supporting partners. Ministers agree to extend NATO’s deployment in the Aegean Sea in support of the efforts of Greece, Türkiye and the EU’s border agency Frontex to break the lines of human trafficking. They also decide that NATO’s new Operation Sea Guardian will support the EU’s Operation Sophia in the Central Mediterranean with NATO ships and planes, ready to help increase the EU’s situational awareness and provide logistical support.
15 November 2016: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets with EU Defence Ministers for talks on European defence and closer NATO-EU cooperation. He stresses that efforts to strengthen European defence can contribute to a stronger NATO, through better defence capabilities and higher defence spending in Europe.
7 December 2016: NATO Foreign Ministers approve a series of more than 40 measures to advance how NATO and the EU work together including on countering hybrid threats, cyber defence, and making their common neighbourhood more stable and secure.
15 December 2016: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets with EU leaders for talks on European defence and closer NATO-EU cooperation.
10 February 2017: NATO convenes an informal workshop on how to reinforce security dialogue in the Euro-Atlantic region, focusing on the importance of NATO, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) supporting each other to improve existing arms control mechanisms.
24 March 2017: The North Atlantic Council and the EU’s Political and Security Committee meet to discuss NATO-EU cooperation, in particular the implementation of the Joint Declaration signed in Warsaw in July 2016, which led to a common set of proposals endorsed by the respective Councils of both organisations in December 2016.
19 June 2017: A first progress report on NATO-EU cooperation – authored jointly by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and EU High Representative / Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini – concludes that the two organisations are making substantial progress in complementing each other’s work since the agreement in Warsaw in July 2016 to work more closely together in areas ranging from resilience to hybrid threats, through greater coherence on capability development to helping build the defence capacities of partner countries.
5 December 2017: In a meeting with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, NATO Foreign Ministers agree to step up NATO’s cooperation with the European Union through an additional common set of 32 new proposals on the implementation of the Joint Declaration signed by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the Secretary General of NATO. Joint work will include three new areas: military mobility, information-sharing in the fight against terrorism, and promoting women’s role in peace and security. A second progress report on NATO-EU cooperation is issued.
8 June 2018: A third progress report on NATO-EU cooperation is released to the public and highlights the qualitative and quantitative increase in cooperation between NATO and the EU.
10 July 2018: In a Joint Declaration on EU-NATO Cooperation, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the NATO Secretary General underline the importance of continued EU-NATO cooperation to address multiple and evolving security challenges as well as steps being taken by both organisations to strengthen capabilities in defence and security.
11 July 2018: At the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels, Allied Leaders underline that the European Union remains a unique and essential partner for NATO. They welcome tangible progress made in a range of areas as well as the second Joint Declaration about taking further steps to implement the common set of 74 proposals, emphasising the importance of the commitment to improving military mobility.
17 June 2019: A fourth progress report on NATO-EU cooperation is published.
16 June 2020: A fifth progress report on NATO-EU cooperation is published.
3 June 2021: A sixth progress report on NATO-EU cooperation is published.
14 June 2021: At the 2021 NATO Summit in Brussels, Allied Leaders emphasise unprecedented levels of NATO-EU strategic cooperation that includes addressing challenges such as resilience issues, emerging and disruptive technologies, the security implications of climate change, disinformation and the growing geostrategic competition. They reaffirm their commitment to the full implementation of the common set of 74 proposals and highlight the importance of the development of coherent, complementary and interoperable defence capabilities.
27 November 2021: The joint visit of the NATO Secretary General and the President of the European Commission to Latvia and Lithuania demonstrates solidarity with NATO Allies and EU member states in the Baltic region, as well as further strengthening of the cooperation between NATO and the EU.
3 February 2022: NATO and EU PSC Ambassadors hold and informal meeting to discuss Russia’s military build-up in and around Ukraine and the implications for European and international security. The meeting formed part of a series of meetings, preceded by an exchange on Afghanistan in September 2021 and one on Operation ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina in December 2021.
24-25 February 2022: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, to discuss Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. NATO and the EU stand united in condemning Russia’s actions, and in supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and right to self-defence. On 25 February, European Council President Michel and European Commission President von der Leyen take part in an extraordinary virtual summit of Heads of State and Government of NATO Allies, plus then-partners Finland (now a NATO member) and Sweden (now a NATO Invitee).
20 June 2022: A seventh progress report on NATO-EU cooperation is published.
29-30 June 2022: President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen participate in talks at the 2022 NATO Summit in Madrid, as well as at the transatlantic dinner hosted by the Spanish government and with the participation of NATO and EU Heads of State and Government. NATO and the EU underline the importance of further strengthening their essential strategic partnership, and reaffirm their common resolve in responding to Russia’s war against Ukraine.
10 January 2023: Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen meet at NATO Headquarters to sign the third Joint Declaration on EU-NATO Cooperation. The meeting underlines the importance of NATO-EU cooperation in the context of the changed security environment following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and the upcoming increase of shared members.
21 February 2023: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba agree to convene NATO, EU and Ukrainian procurement experts to see what more can be done together to ensure Ukraine has the weapons it needs to defend itself against Russia’s aggression.
17 March 2023: The NATO Secretary General visits the Troll A offshore natural gas platform off the west coast of Norway, together with the Norwegian Prime Minister, the European Commission President and the CEO of Equinor. The joint visit demonstrates the unity between NATO and the EU and the shared commitment of both organisations to boosting the resilience of their societies, infrastructure and supply chains.
23 March 2023: A ceremony is held to mark the initial operational capability of the new Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) fleet developed by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency, the European Defence Agency and the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation.
16 June 2023: An eighth progress report on NATO-EU cooperation is published.
29 June 2023: The NATO Secretary General participates in the European Council meeting for discussions with the EU leaders about NATO-EU cooperation in the context of Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine, as well as on broader common challenges.
11-12 July 2023: Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission participate in the NATO Summit in Vilnius, including the session with partners in the Indo-Pacific region.