Defence Minister reacts to accusations by President Basescu
National Defence Minister Mircea Dusa replied on Saturday night to accusations launched by President Traian Basescu on the topic of budget revision for the Ministry of Defence, DCNews reports.
President Traian Basescu had declared on Friday that the budget revision was “extremely poorly received” by all chancelleries. “I may say an item that’s extremely poorly received by all chancelleries: the budget revision, which was a signal of discrediting to all our messages that we need the presence of NATO on Romania’s territory in order to increase Romania’s security level. When it was noticed that over EUR 2 billion are spread to Mayoralties for electoral purposes and the Army is granted such a low budget, many chancelleries raised the question of how serious we are when we claim that we need the support of our allies in order to consolidate our Eastern flank. There are things done that show complete lack of responsibility, affecting national security, in a moment when we are demanding everyone to benefit of article no. 5 in the Northern Atlantic Treaty: “All for one, one for all”, but the “one” who asks for the help of “all” fails to assume minimal measures in order to consolidate its capacity to face risks affecting national security. And when I speak about failing to assume minimal measures, I also refer to granting a budget to increase the level of fighting capacity of the army and to the refuses received by the demands of the Prosecutors’ Office when it comes to struggle against corruption”, Traian Basescu declared in a press conference held at the Cotroceni Palace.
Dusa: “Basescu, in contradiction to what we decided at the NATO Summit”
In response, Mircea Dusa declared, for Antena 3, that the President’s position represents a contradiction to the decisions reached at the Summit in Wales.
“We are all aware that financial support to the Army is necessary and that there’s a need for more money. The Ponta Government had understood this and had insisted that we increase the budget for the Ministry of National Defence. What the President was saying was in contradiction to what was established at the Summit in Wales. There, Romania was praised each time for the budget granted to the Ministry of Defence. Now, returning to the topic, can we fix in two years what was neglected ten years?”
The National Defence Minister also mentioned the issues solved during the Ponta Government.
“We are supporting the renovation of the Fetesti Airport, we are co-financing the Military Base at Deveselu. And let us not forget that we are granting money for the maintenance of the forces we have. Money for maintenance was not budgeted for the latest five years; but now, we are granting it. We also fund army instruction, which was neglected for the last few years, also for financial reasons. For four years, pilots have not used real ammunition in training. This year, we granted it, both for planes and helicopters. And many other things that were neglected in time were solved now. How can anyone come up now and claim that Defence was not granted enough money? Obviously, one could grant much more money, but nobody can fix in two years what was neglected ten years.”
Mircea Dusa also pointed out that there was a draft budget for 2015. “We are preparing the budget for 2015, we created a draft budget stipulating an increase of 0.3 per cent, so that we could reach 12 per cent until 2017. The Premier had outlined many times that he had a keen interest in the Defence Budget”, the Defence Minister concluded.