NATO, EU to deepen relation, Ukraine not the focus
NATO and the EU seek to deepen their relationship and Stoltenberg notes that Ukraine's ascension to NATO is not a point of focus.
Since 2021, NATO and EU leaders continue to work on a joint agreement that was set to be signed, but no such signature has been reported or relevant contents have been disclosed until today. Today, July 13th, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that EU leaders and NATO have agreed to work on a new agreement to deepen their cooperation.
"Now, [European Commission President Ursula] Von der Leyen and [European Council President Charles] Michel and I have agreed that we should look into the third declaration [on NATO-EU cooperation]. I’m not able to tell you exactly when we will be able to have the third declaration, but it is something which is now supported by both two EU presidents and me, so we will start to work on that as soon as possible," Stoltenberg said during a session of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs.
During the meeting, Stoltenberg also stated that while NATO remained focused on assisting Ukraine with weapons, it is not focused on its accession to the alliance.
"The main focus now on Ukraine is to provide support to help Ukraine to prevail as an independent and sovereign nation, and that's the main focus. The focus is not on membership now," he said.
Earlier on June 29th, NATO leaders in Madrid labeled Russia a threat to their security during the summit, with alliance's chief Jens Stoltenberg saying that NATO will “state clearly that Russia poses a direct threat to our security,” as the alliance seeks to upgrade its defense response, by strengthening its eastern flank, given the ongoing war in Ukraine.
In parallel, the EU has been enforcing sanctions on Russia since the beginning of its operation in Ukraine. Lately in this respect were the sanctions on Kaliningrad. However, earlier today July 13, the European Union and Russia reached an agreement on the transit of goods to Kaliningrad, according to the Russian newspaper Izvestia, citing high-ranking Russian sources, who added that Brussels provided a document that "completely satisfied" Moscow.
The same source said, as quoted by the newspaper, that "this document says that it is impossible to restrict the transit of goods between the subjects of the Russian Federation. That is, all goods going to the region will be withdrawn as an exception from the sanctions lists. We are talking about both railway and road transit."
The EU and Lithuania have been coordinating the final document for several weeks, according to the source.
Prior to that, on May 30th, the US-led alliance's deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoana told AFP NATO is no longer bound by past commitments to hold back from deploying its forces in eastern Europe.
Speaking in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, Geoana claimed that Moscow has "voided of any content" of the NATO-Russia Founding Act, through its war with Ukraine and halting dialogue with the alliance.