President Klaus Iohannis attended on Tuesday the investiture ceremony of the new Chief of the Romanian Army’s General Staff, Lieutenant-General Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca.
Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca, dubbed the ‘Desert General’, is the former commanding officer of the 26th Infantry Battalion, with which he participated in combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2002-2004.
The investiture ceremony took place at the headquarters of the Romanian Army’s General Staff.
Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca replaced Lieutenant-General Stefan Danila at the helm of the Romanian Army’s General Staff, following the latter’s end of mandate on January 1, 2015.
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.
Romania has to generate regional security, not just benefit from alliances
President Klaus Iohannis has estimated that the geopolitical context around Romania reconfirms the need for consolidating the national defence system. “Romania has to be a generator of regional security, not merely a beneficiary of its system of alliances”, he said on Tuesday at the ceremony of appointment of the new chief of staff of the Romanian Army, Lieutenant-General Nicolae Ionel Ciuca.
‘The trust placed into the Romanian Army and the recognition of its value by our allies has been hard-earned, but deservedly earned, by each of those you represent. (…) The recent transformations of the geopolitical context and the recent dynamic security evolutions in our country’s neighbourhood underline the fragility of the regional security system and reconfirm the need for consolidating the national defence system. The military institution, as a fundamental pillar of ensuring the state’s security, has to be consolidated firstly to eliminate the deficiencies that might generate vulnerabilities of the defence system, but also to preserve our credibility within the commitments we took,’ the president stated, quoted by Agerpres.
He also asserted that Romania has earned, with the important contribution of its troops, the respect of its allies and the guarantee of their support if necessary.
‘Nevertheless, no ally or partner could ever guarantee our security if we do not do it for ourselves. We have to be a generator of regional security, not merely a beneficiary of the system of alliances where we belong,’ Iohannis added.
He also mentioned he supports consistency in the foreign and security policy.
‘Our country’s membership of NATO and of the EU is essential, and the continuity and predictability of Romania’s relations with these organizations and with our strategic partners is vital. The strategic partnership with the United States of America is especially important for our country in military terms, and I hope it can be carried on, with a significant improvement of the relations on the economic side, not just for the sake of benefits and of the economic wealth it brings, but also because, on its turn, the economic wealth generates security,’ the president declared.
The president congratulated General Stefan Danila for the way he commanded the Romanian Army and wished success to general Ciuca.
Klaus Iohannis: ‘I will not accept in the future that the government should not respect the pledged funding for the Army’
On this occasion, president Klaus Iohannis announced he will call consultations with the parliamentary parties 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.
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.
Victor Ponta: Idea of proper funding for defence, fair and based on cross-party agreement
The idea of a proper funding for the defence sector, launched by President Klaus Iohannis, is fair and must be assumed based on a cross-party agreement, Prime Minister Victor Ponta said on Tuesday at the headquarters of the National Defence Ministry.
‘The idea of a proper funding for the defence sector, for the Romanian Army, is an extremely fair idea. I’m glad that also Romania’s President, Mr. Klaus Iohannis makes of it a top priority. And I believe it’s the obligation of all decision-makers to understand that security is not achieved for free, that we have important partners and we find out about the effort to be continued by our most important partner, the United States, as regards facilities in Romania and cooperating with the Romanian Army, but of course the main responsibility falls on us. And its assumption as a cross-party and cross-political objective is of vital importance,’ Ponta told.
Victor Ponta added that in 2014 and 2015, through the budget approved by the Parliament and promulgated by the President, the amounts allotted to the defence ministry are much higher compared to the ones in 2008, when the budget of Romania was ‘sufficiently generous.