Presidential palace ceremony marks 10 years since Romania joined NATO

President Traian Basescu, former presidents Ion Iliescu and Emil Constantinescu were among those who attended the event.

The ceremony organised at the Presidential Palace on the tenth anniversary of Romania’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) began on Monday with a military ceremony, the parade of the flags of NATO member states and the singing of the national anthem and the anthem of the alliance. A series of military attaches and ambassadors attended the ceremony.
Ten years after Romania’s NATO accession our country has the profile of a ‘fully integrated state, capable to fulfill all of its assumed commitments, that has an important strategic weight and an activity that is becoming of a serious, committed and responsible ally,’ said Traian Basescu. The head of state said that Romania’s accession to NATO, part of the most ample enlargement in the organization’s history, brought security, stability and freedom from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.
According to him, Romania has never been safer in terms of security than it is today. He also said that, beyond the symbolic meaning of this anniversary, the new threats to our world and the recent developments in Romania’s vicinity ‘force us all to rethink the NATO response’. He also said that there is need ‘of a strong alliance, capable of responding efficiently to the new security challenges.’
In his opinion, such critical moments as the one represented by the Ukraine crisis are key-moments when NATO proves its relevance. ‘It is not acceptable, in the 21st century, for the army to be used as an instrument to achieve political goals at the expense of other countries or that the specter of war has returned as a threat to the citizens and the territories in the Euro-Atlantic region and particularly in the eastern area of the European Union and NATO,’ said Basescu, quoted by Agerpres.
The head of state paid his homage to the Romanian soldiers who sacrificed their lives on the battlefield and sent a message of condolences to their families.Traian Basescu also talked about US missile defense facilities at Deveselu: “I have constantly pleaded for focusing towards the eastern neighborhood of NATO, which represents a source of tension and conflict.”
Rasmussen: NATO-prepared to defend its members
NATO remains prepared and unshaken in its commitment to defend its members at a time marked by deep-going security challenges in the region, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a message which was read out at the ceremony organised at the Cotroceni Palace. At a time marked by deep-going security challenges in the region, the Alliance remains prepared and unshaken in its commitment to defend its members, to preserve peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond it, said Rasmussen. He congratulated Romania on its 10th anniversary of NATO membership, saying this is a celebration not only for Romania, but for the entire Alliance as well.
Looking back…
In the speech he gave on this occasion, former president Ion Iliescu stated that the 1989 revolution was the crucial moment in the country’s contemporary history, and its program included Euro-Atlantic integration. Iliescu recalled the main moments since 1990 until NATO membership in 2004. According to the former head of state, the key moment in Romania’s path to NATO membership was the NATO Summit in Prague in November 2002, when it was decided that seven countries should be invited to join NATO. Iliescu reminded the fact that after that summit US President George W. Bush visited Bucharest and Romanian Premier Adrian Nastase was present at the ceremony in which seven new member states were welcomed in NATO in the spring of 2004. “Hence here is the landmark moment in what concerns the 20 years that passed since Romania gained this new status. Today, after 10 years, we can look with satisfaction on the fact that Romania is a full member of both NATO and of the European Union,” the former president stated.
Former head of state Emil Constantinescu presented a brief review of the period that led to Romania’s NATO accession too. According to Constantinescu, it was possible for Romania to join NATO because “of the exceptional solidarity shown by politicians, civil society and people in general.” “I cannot avoid thanking the opposition back then,” Constantinescu stated, recalling the approval of the use of the Timisoara airport during the war in the former Yugoslavia.
Ponta absent from ceremony
Premier Victor Ponta did not attend the ceremony because he was “busy,” claiming that those “toasting champagne” today did not have any merits in the accession. “I believe those that took us in NATO were politicians with extraordinary vision and we have to praise them first of all: Emil Constantinescu, Ion Iliescu, Victor Ciorbea, the late Radu Vasile, Mugur Isarescu and Adrian Nastase,” Ponta said after the meeting of PSD’s National Permanent Bureau.
The President’s reply was not late in coming: “I understood only those that were involved in the accession process are allowed to take part. Even though I don’t think he is right, I’m telling him that I was very involved in this process. I was a minister in 1996-2000; we all followed the position favorable to NATO in the conflict with Serbia (…),” Basescu stated during a press statement at the Presidential Palace. He sarcastically stated that “if we are to use Ponta’s logic what was he doing at Union Day, because I didn’t see him in Cuza’s retinue? Although maybe he took a Union act and placed a plagiarized stamp on it. He has a broken logic.”

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