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NATO, EU eye ‘next level’ partnership in face of Russia threat

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Photo by Grigory SYSOYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP)

NATO and the EU are seeking to ramp up cooperation after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upended the European security order, a joint declaration seen by AFP on Monday said.

The two Brussels-based organisations have been looking to improve coordination for years, despite fears in some quarters that efforts to bolster the EU’s role in defence could undermine the US-led alliance.

The invasion of Ukraine has spurred calls to better harness the combined clout of Europe’s economic muscle and US military might to better protect the one billion citizens living in member states.

“This is a key juncture for Euro-Atlantic security and stability, more than ever demonstrating the importance of the transatlantic bond, calling for closer EU-NATO cooperation,” said the statement, which is to be released by top NATO and EU officials on Tuesday.

The declaration points to tackling “growing geostrategic competition”, protecting critical infrastructure, and dealing with threats from emerging technologies and in space as important areas for deeper cooperation.

Twenty-one of the European Union’s 27 member states are already in NATO, and Sweden and Finland are currently pushing to join.

The statement says the bodies “play complementary, coherent and mutually reinforcing roles in supporting international peace” and pledged to “further mobilise” their political, economic and military strength.

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