By Jeyhun Aliyev
The efforts of the European Union on defense should not compete with NATO, the head of the organization said on Tuesday.
"I have been equally clear about the fact that EU efforts must not compete with NATO, must not duplicate NATO, because NATO remains the bedrock for European security," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said ahead of the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.
He said some 80 percent of NATO’s expenditure on defense will be gained from non-EU NATO allies after Brexit.
Stoltenberg also welcomed "unprecedented" levels of cooperation between the EU and NATO.
He added: "Stronger European defense can contribute to fairer burden-sharing within NATO."
The Secretary-General said NATO and EU cooperate in cyber, hybrid and maritime areas, as well as exercising side by side.
"I really welcome that NATO and EU are able to work more closely together than we have done ever before," he stated.
Stoltenberg said that EU efforts on defense can "complement" NATO, as well as support to develop "new NATO capabilities" and "address the fragmentation" of the EU defense market.
He stressed that geography and money are facts that cannot be ignored.
"Norway in the North, and Turkey in the South, and Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. in the West are important for European security," Stoltenberg said.