President Klaus Iohannis announced on Tuesday he will call consultations with the parliamentary parties on January 12 with a view to forging an agreement meant to provide 2 percent of gross domestic product to defence starting 2017 and keeping such goal for at least ten years.
‘One of the priorities of my term-in-office for the period immediately ahead is to find solutions for increasing the defence budget. I will call consultations with the parliamentary parties with a view to forging a political agreement meant to provide a minimum 2 percent of GDP to defence. More than that, I propose all the political factors, both in government and in opposition to clearly pledge keeping this minimum goal for at least ten years, so that we might ensure the predictability of military spending particularly with respect to training and the strategic procurement programmes’, Iohannis told a ceremony in which Lieutenant General Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca took up as the new Chief of Staff.
The president told those attending the event at the National Defence Ministry headquarters that he, alongside the other state decision-making factors and the foreign partners will do everything possible to find ‘realistic solutions to assign the budget resources that should allow the fair funding of the military system’.
‘I will not accept in the future that the government, no matter who heads it should not respect the pledged funding for the Army’, the head of state stressed.
Attending the investiture ceremony were Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Vice Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea, Defence Minister Mircea Dusa, Senate Chairman Calin Popescu-Tariceanu and the Romanian Intelligence Service director George Maior.
Previously,Tatiana Niculescu Bran, President Iohannis’ spokeperson confirmed on Monday the head of state’s intention to invite the leaders of parliamentary political parties over for consultations.
The president announced already the day he was sworn in that he would invite the parties over for consultations in order to obtain a consensus on important subjects. ‘We have all been saying for years: education is a priority. We want to reform the healthcare system. We want a pensions system that could provide a decent life. Although we all say we want those things, why don’t we have them? How is it possible that, although we set them as priorities, education and healthcare are the first to take the consequences of crises, circumstances and political calculations? (…) How are we going to build a performing and competitive education system? What does a correct and effective healthcare system look like? How can we make sure that Romania is able to pay decent retirement benefits on a long term? What are we going to do about the demographic issue? These are all topics we will have to put on the table of dialogue and build a consensus around them. In the shortest time possible I will invite political parties over for consultations to decide together on three fundamental matters: what country objective we will have regarding these chapters, a mode of work and permanent dialogue and a roadmap with phases and actions to move from talk to facts’, Iohannis was saying on 21 December.