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April 17, 2021

SRI Leader: Romania, economically impacted by Russia – Ukraine conflict

Maior: A moment comparable with September 11 may still occur; nonetheless, Romania
has the ability to adapt.

Romania will not be under military or territorial threat caused by the local conflict of Russia and Ukraine, but will be economically affected, the Head the Romanian Intelligence Services (SRI) George Maior declared, mentioning that institutions of strategy must be supported by authorities in order to face these issues.
“As for these military and geopolitical occurrences of instability in our zone, it is obvious that we will be always impacted by them. Surely, we will not be under military or territorial threat, but we will be impacted economically, commercially, at the level of intelligence and, last but not least, geopolitically, by an issue that causes instability at our border. We must treat this issue with utmost seriousness; we must be prepared to fully comprehend it and react properly”, Maior stated in an interview for Mediafax.
Maior also declared that, while expanding in Crimea, Russia had lost a great amount of soft power that could have helped it in its international affairs, which is extremely harmful for Russia’s medium and long term interests.
Posed a question regarding the concern of Romanian politicians for the defence of Romania’s interests under the circumstances of instability at the border, the SRI leader declared that there was a chance of strong institutions in the field of strategy. These may provide politicians strategic vision, expertise and the ability of “effective action”; required in order to confront these issues. “I am talking about diplomacy, about the Defence Ministry and the Intelligence Services that can provide strategic vision, expertise and the ability of effective action to politicians, so these issues could be addressed. Obviously, the political class must respect these institutions; it must grant them the autonomy of strategic evaluation of these evolutions and supply them the resources needed so that these institutions could fulfil their mission. Unfortunately, the latter is sometimes omitted”, Maior added.

On the evolution of politicians that followed Romania’s joining NATO, Maior pointed out: “At least, politicians were determined to gain a better understanding of the challenges encountered by the states and the community we joined – the Euro-Atlantic community – confronted with strategic evolutions.”
The possibility of an event that would match 9 / 11
The SRI leader also outlined the underlying possibility of an event that would be similar to the tragedy of September 11, 2001 because “the imagination of people willing to produce such incidents will always be fed by unpredictability and mystery.” Maior pointed out that September 11, 2001 was a dramatic moment that underlined an international change of circumstances.”
Maior also mentioned that “we can’t even predict” the manner a terrorist attack can be applied “within “the society of 21st century, defined by impressive development of technology an exponential growth in the communication potential, terrorist groups notwithstanding.” The head of SRI pointed out though that Romania is fully able to adapt to this threat.
On the other hand, Maior speaks out about tax evasion in Romania, declaring that it diminished throughout the last two or three years from 22 – 27 per cent of the GDP to 18 per cent, according to SRI estimations. He outlined that most of the evasion concerns VAT, reaching 12 per cent of the GDP, followed by public health insurance, that sums 2.4 of the GDP. As for the fields of activity affected by evasion, the food industry is at the top, followed by agriculture, the construction industry and others currently under research.
SRI, challenged by the personal data registration law
The SRI leader also demands politicians to promptly elaborate a new law on personal data registration, following the instructions issued by the Constitution Court. He warns that, under present circumstances of “legal void”, the Service is “almost blocked” due to technical issues in “preventing certain phenomena concerning national safety.” “Until a new law is promulgated, we are almost blocked technically in this matter. Obviously, there are other means of actions. This results in a situation of vulnerability and of competitive disadvantage for the Service, and we must balance it by other means and other procedures”, Maior explained.
When questioned on his political plans, the SRI leader stated: “When the idea of me running for President was brought into discussion, I publicly announced that this thing would not happen and, as you may see, it did not happen. (…) After my service as Head of SRI is completed, maybe today, tomorrow or in a few years, as you can never tell in this complicated profession, I shall be willing to discuss future plans”.
Regarding his previous statement that SRI would be politically neutral during the election campaigns the SRI leader stated that there were no violations of this decision: “We even signed an internal Order on this matter. Each of the officer took an engagement to respect these values – a mere reiteration of things they already do – and we outlined that failure to respect these principles would be sanctioned. So far, we encountered no misdeeds. If they may ever occur, we will publicly denounce them”, the SRI leader said.


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