European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, along with NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, signed the joint declaration to improve cooperation between the two institutions at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
This joint declaration is the third between the two organizations and builds on the previous two declarations signed in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
EU and NATO partnership to the next level
Stoltenberg said that the three officials met almost a year ago in the same place — NATO headquarters — after Russia invaded Ukraine last February. "Putin wanted to take Ukraine in a few days and divide us. On both counts, he failed," Stoltenberg said.
The NATO chief said that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants a different Europe and his ambition would have long-term consequences for the region for which they need to prepare.
He said they "recognize the value of a stronger and more capable European defense that contributes positively to global and transatlantic security and is complementary to, and interoperable with, NATO."
Stoltenberg added he was determined to take partnership between the EU and NATO to the "next level" as security threats keep evolving in scope and magnitude.
NATO was established during the Cold War, mainly with the aim of securing Western European countries against the threat of Soviet Union. It has 30 members today, and Ukraine's desire to join the alliance has long been a bone of contention for Russia.
The institutions, both based in Brussels, have played a key role in the war since their treaties bring together the resources of their members.
Relations between NATO and the EU were institutionalized in the early 2000s and they share 21 members in common today.
This report was written in part with material from AFP news agency.