NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and top EU officials Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel encouraged strengthening ties between the bloc and the US

NATO, EU top leaders urge US, EU unity

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and top EU officials Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel encouraged strengthening ties between the bloc and the US on Friday.

The trio of leaders welcomed new US President Joe Biden and endorsed opening a new chapter in transatlantic relations.

“We must reinforce our unity that unity derives from our promise to defend each other,” Stoltenberg said at the Munich Security Conference, an annual meeting of global leaders on international security policy.

Calling it “a historic opportunity” after “differences between Europe and North America,” the NATO head urged Biden and European leaders to “regain trust and reinforce unity.”

Stoltenberg pointed out that the military alliance needs to widen the concept of security because climate change and the coronavirus pandemic have shown the importance of resilience.

He said the alliance should act on climate change by reducing emissions of military operations and their dependence on fossil fuels.

“Security and climate go hand in hand,” he said.

Von der Leyen, who heads the European Commission, also invited the US to become a partner with the EU in the fight against climate change.

She expressed hope that Washington would follow the EU’s example and commit to becoming climate neutral by 2050.

“I’m sure a share transatlantic commitment to a net zero emissions pathway by 2050 would make climate neutrality a new global benchmark,” she said.

As President of the European Council, Michel pointed out that “we want to build back a better, fairer and greener world, for all.”

The bloc and the US will now have “greater influence to promote democracy and drive forward our economies,” he said.

“Together, we are stronger to defend the rules-based international order from the attacks of autocratic regimes, whether from Russia, China or Iran. And we are stronger to ensure peace and security,” he added.

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