In a more timid way, I wanted to welcome today's Declaration which is an important landmark in our partnership. It builds on what we have already achieved together over the last two years and it strengthens our commitments to one another.
Since the last NATO Summit in Warsaw in 2016 where we signed our last Joint Declaration, our cooperation has gone from strength to strength.
NATO and the European Union are the most natural of partners. It is a matter of safety and a matter of common sense. We share 22 Members and almost 95% of EU citizens now live in a NATO country.We share the same commitment to making people safer and more secure.
We share the same values – NATO and the European Union – and the same attachment to freedom and democracy. And of course we face many of the same challenges and threats.
So never has it made more sense to cooperate together and complement each other's work. I want to insist on the word complementarity – because this is what defines our partnership. We are autonomous, yes, but we work together. We do things sometimes differently but we make sure they are coherent with each other's work. And we have different strengths which we use to help one another.
Europe has decided to take responsibility for its own security. NATO is a cornerstone of that strategy and we are working full steam to implement the 74 joint actions which go from countering hybrid threats to cyber security, defence and research.
This partnership is a cornerstone of our overall security and defence strategy. But we know that we must also do more ourselves.
We have made a lot of progress in recent years, notably with the historic launch of Permanent Structured Cooperation, the so-called Sleeping Beauty of the Lisbon Treaty, now very much awake!
But there is still a lot to do. And that starts with properly investing in our own security and defence.
This is why as part of our new budgetary proposals we, the Commission, have proposed to increase defence spending by 22 times, bringing total defence spending to EUR 27.5 billion from 2021 to 2027.
This would equip the European Defence Fund and the Internal Security Fund with the means necessary to protect ourselves from threats and invest in strategic research and capabilities.
We also want to move forward military mobility – another key part of our cooperation with NATO.
This sums up the spirit of our partnership and the trust and confidence we have in each other. I know this is a message which will be delivered loud and clear at tomorrow's NATO Summit.
With today's world as it is, Europe must continue to do more to protect itself while deepening our partnership with NATO. Our citizens are simply safer if we work together. This is what today's Joint Declaration is all about.