Visiting the European Commission on Thursday (10 March 2016), Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed the vital importance of the relationship between NATO and the European Union. After meeting Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Mr. Stoltenberg welcomed the organisations’ deepening ties, saying, “that is something we need more than ever, because we face a more challenging security environment.”
In responding to Europe’s worst refugee and migrant crisis since the Second World War, the Secretary General said that NATO and the EU are working together more closely than before. He noted that NATO is now present in the territorial waters of Greece and Turkey, and that “we are planning to move further south in the coming days and weeks”. This will help Greece, Turkey, and Frontex build a common picture of the situation, and support their efforts to cut lines of human trafficking.
The Secretary General welcomed that NATO’s Maritime Command and Frontex have now agreed operational and tactical level arrangements, enabling the exchange of liaison officers and the sharing of information in real-time.
Secretary General Stoltenberg and President Juncker also discussed ways to increase joint work to counter hybrid threats in areas including early warning, supporting critical infrastructure, and cyber. The Secretary General underlined that the European Council in June and NATO’s Warsaw Summit in July will be “important milestones”, marking a unique opportunity to deepen our cooperation.
“I believe that a strong Europe is good for NATO, and that a strong NATO is good for Europe,” the Secretary General said. “Based on that common understanding, we very much welcome that we are expanding our cooperation.”