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EU and NATO sign joint call for cooperation amid Ukraine war

January 10, 2023

NATO and the EU have played key roles since Russia's invasion, both in sending weapons to Kyiv and safeguarding regional security. The two institutions say cooperation "is more important than ever."

Charles Michel, Jens Stoltenberg und Ursula von der Leyen at NATO headquarters, January 10, 2023
The European Union and NATO issued their third joint declaration to boost cooperation on UkraineImage: Johanna Geron/REUTERS

The European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Tuesday formally signed a joint declaration to strengthen partnership to counter Russia's war on Ukraine and boost security in the broader region.

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.

Europe backs stronger partnership

European Council President Charles Michel said "Putin wanted less NATO, but he has achieved the opposite," referring to the pending accession of Sweden and Finland to the alliance.

"We are closer today than ever," Michel said, adding that the EU was determined to contribute more effectively to the security in the broader Euro-Atlantic area.

Von der Leyen said the bloc would keep pressure on Russia for "as long as it takes" and that Ukraine should get all the military assitance that it needs.

She said the EU would extend sanctions to "those who military support Russia," naming Belarus and Iran.

The joint call makes clear that the North Atlantic Treaty "remains the foundation of collective defense" for the region and the broader Euro-Atlantic area, officials said.

The principle of collective defense, which states that an attack on one member of NATO is an attack on all its members, is the cornerstone of the US-led military alliance.

Why is the joint declaration so important?

Both NATO and the EU have played important roles since Russia's war on Ukraine started.

The EU was established after the Second World War and has expanded significantly since then, with 27 members part of the group today.

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.

Edited by: Rebecca Staudenmaier

Roshni Majumdar Roshni is a writer at DW's online breaking news desk and covers stories from around the world.@RoshniMaj