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NATO, EU sign declaration on cooperation

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (center), European Council President Charles Michel (left) and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (right) hold a press conference after signing a joint declaration of cooperation between EU and NATO in Brussels on Jan 10, 2023. (JOHN THYS / AFP)

BRUSSELS – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union signed a third Joint Declaration on cooperation Tuesday that aimed to further expand their strategic partnership collaboration and strengthen collective European defense.

"We have just signed the third EU-NATO joint declaration … This is more important than ever," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference following the signing ceremony at the military alliance's headquarters in Brussels.

The declaration was signed by European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who lauded the agreement, saying it would deepen the existing cooperation between the Union and the alliance.

According to the third Joint Declaration on cooperation, EU and NATO will expand and deepen cooperation in such areas as geostrategic competition, resilience, critical infrastructure protection, emerging and disruptive technologies, and space

According to the joint declaration, EU and NATO will expand and deepen cooperation in such areas as geostrategic competition, resilience, critical infrastructure protection, emerging and disruptive technologies, and space.

Von der Leyen said that Europe's security was "challenged" and "under threat" by the conflict in Ukraine.

Stoltenberg highlighted the importance of the declaration, stressing the crucial role of NATO in Euro-Atlantic security. He noted that this declaration built upon two previous joint declarations signed in 2016 and 2018.

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Stoltenberg touched upon the prospect of Finland and Sweden joining NATO, stating that this would result in the alliance protecting 96 percent of EU citizens.