The EU and NATO are unique and essential partners who share common values and strategic interests. We work side by side in crisis management operations, capability development and political consultations to support international peace and security.
Our cooperation is particularly important in the context of declining defence budgets in many of our Member States. We need to strengthen the potential of our strategic partnership to minimise unnecessary duplication and maximise cost-effectiveness.
We welcome efforts both by NATO Allies and EU members to enhance their defence capabilities and, in this respect, we support continuing close cooperation and complementarity between the two organizations. A stronger European Defence will contribute to a stronger NATO.
We look forward to the June European Council taking decisive steps in this regard.
Thank you so much, thank you Mr. President Jean-Claude, it is great to see you again and as you stated we have been working together for many, many years in different capacities, as Minister of Finance and Prime Minister and now in your capacity as president of the Commission and me as the Secretary General of NATO.
And I really appreciate that we have this opportunity to meet and to strengthen the cooperation between the European Union and NATO.
And I fully agree with you that we are different organizations with different responsibilities but we share the same values and we are sharing the same security environment and we also share even the same members, twenty-two of the European Union members are also members of NATO. And actually ninety-five per cent of the population in the European Union lives in a NATO country.
So we share a lot and we have to work together and we are already working together in Afghanistan, in Kosovo, in Bosnia and Herzegovina and we are expanding our cooperation.
And I think especially in times like this it is important that we work together and we have also worked together in facing a new and more challenging security environment. For instance the European Union has imposed economic sanctions as response to the aggressive actions of Russia in Ukraine and NATO has delivered deterrence in the eastern part of the Alliance. And altogether this is a strong and very firm response from both the European Union and from NATO.
We discussed how we could continue to further develop our cooperation, for instance within hybrid warfare, but also in supporting our neighbours and partners to help them stabilize their own country and to defend themselves both in the south but also in the east of the European Union and NATO.
And I very much appreciate the invitation to attend the European Council next week when the European Council is going to address defence issues.
So I think all this just underlines that it is important that we continue and that we develop our close cooperation, especially in times which are as challenging as we are facing today.
So thank you once again.
L. J. De Rothschild