Friday, March 11, 2016

NATO, EU highlight cooperation to tackle refugee crisis

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday stressed the vital importance of the relationship between two organizations, especially cooperation in addressing the refugee crisis during their meeting.

Visiting the European Commission on Thursday, Stoltenberg welcomed the organizations' deepening ties, saying "that is something we need more than ever, because we face a more challenging security environment."

"We decided once again, and that is what we are doing since we last met, to step up our cooperation," Juncker said at the joint press conference.

Stoltenberg said that NATO and the European Union (EU) are working together more closely than before in responding to Europe's refugee and migrant crisis and NATO has decided to expand its support for the EU.

Stressing the importance of the NATO's operations in the Aegean sea, Juncker added that "we are both convinced that the cooperation between NATO and the EU in the Aegean will lead to a substantial reduction of irregular crossings and allow us to effectively manage the Union's external borders and break smugglers' cruel business models."

They also discussed ways to increase joint work to counter hybrid threats in areas including early warning, supporting critical infrastructure, and cyber.

Stoltenberg underlined that the European Council in June and NATO's Warsaw Summit in July will be "important milestones," marking a unique opportunity to deepen their cooperation.

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