They were speaking ahead of discussions on security and defence at a retreat of the College of European Commissioners, where Jens Stoltenberg was the first NATO Secretary General to take part. He stressed that resilience and the protection of critical infrastructure are a key part of the joint work between NATO and the EU. He said that, in the wake of President Putin’s weaponising of energy and the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, the focus of the joint taskforce will be on making “our critical infrastructure, technology and supply chains more resilient to potential threats and to take action to mitigate potential vulnerabilities.”
The meeting took part one day after the signature of the third Joint Declaration on NATO-EU cooperation. The NATO Secretary General said this partnership is more important than ever, because Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has fundamentally changed our security. He stressed that the fierce fighting around Bakhmut and Soledar showed the bravery of Ukrainian forces and the vital importance of stepping up military support to Ukraine. “At this key juncture in the war, we must do even more, even faster,” he said.
“One important new focus for our cooperation is the security of our critical infrastructure, where we have to step up the cooperation. We have seen the sabotage of Nord Stream that has shown that we need to be ready and that we need to confront this new type of threats. So today we are launching an EU-NATO Task Force for Resilient Critical Infrastructure. This is a Task Force where our experts from NATO and the European Union will work hand in hand to identify key threats to our critical infrastructure, to look at the strategic vulnerabilities that we do have; then of course also to develop key principles to improve our resilience, and to propose mitigating measures and remedial actions. At the beginning, the Task Force will cover four sectors. That is transport, it is energy, it is digital and space. Of course, we will report our findings back to the Member States or the Allies. By now, if you count in Finland and Sweden, 23 Member States of the 27 in the European Union are also in NATO. It is about information sharing, it is about best practises. Of course, it is about early warning and shared expertise. But we will also discuss other areas of cooperation”, stressed President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.