POLITICS

Defence Minister Dusa: The two NATO commands to open in 2016 will operate in Bucharest

The two NATO commands to open in Romania in 2016 will operate in Bucharest and will have a key-role in ensuring connections between the national and the Alliance’s forces, accomplishing the command and control in the area where it is necessary to deploy a rapid reaction force, on Tuesday said the minister of the National Defence, Mircea Dusa at the 2014 annual report of the MApN.

The minister said Romania expressed its intention to provide a multinational headquarters at division level, as well as to host a multinational structure of forces’ integration.

‘Our propositions were materialized at the beginning of February 2015, on the occasion of the Defence ministers’ reunion in Brussels, where it was decided that the Alliance will have through these two multinational headquarters a visible, persistent presence in Romania. I characterized this achievement as one very important after our NATO integration. We have decided that in a first stage we should attain the initial operational stage of the units for the NATO forces’ integration by June this year, and by the summit in Poland in 2016 to finalise the complete operational capacity. As regards the division’s multinational command, we expect the completion of the initial operational capacity by 2016, and the complete operational capacity by 2018,’ Dusa added.

 

The analysis of the National Defence Ministry (MAPN) activity on 2014 is marked firstly by the change of the security environment in the extended region of the Black Sea, as well as by the growth of instability in the Alliance’s southern vicinity, in the Middle East towards Northern Africa, on Tuesday said the Defence minister Mircea Dusa in the annual report meeting of this ministry.

Mircea Dusa has specified that these things have generated, through their implications deep changes in the way of addressing the defence and security matters at the NATO and EU level.

‘Under these circumstances, the National Defence Ministry has responded rapidly, by generating a change of priorities as regards the objectives initially foreseen for 2014. The stress was put on measures of increasing the operational capacity of the Romanian Army, simultaneously with accomplishing the commitments arising from its quality of member state of the NATO, the EU, the UN and the OSCE. A particular importance was given to implementing the measures set through the strategic partnerships of Romania, with the United States of America especially, with its two dimensions, the project of the anti-missile shield at the Deveselu base and the development of the multimode Node and the Mihail Kogalniceanu transit Centre,’ the minister highlighted, quoted by Agerpres.

According to the Defence minister, 2014 was the best budget year for the army since 2008 up until now.

‘In 2014, the financial support ensured by Romania’s Government has allowed the Air Forces to continue the strategic Programme for endowment with the F-16 multirole aircraft, as well as the finalization of the endowment Programme with the C-27J Spartan short and medium-courier aircraft. As for the other categories of forces, field and naval, focus was on the increase of the state of efficiency of the equipment and further implementation of procurement programmes,’ Dusa added.

Mircea Dusa has also reviewed the Army’s endowment programmes, another top priority of the ministry.

In 2014, the procurement activity focused on the following priorities: the ‘Air Forces multirol aircraft’ strategic programme; the ‘C-27J Spartan medium-short courier’ programme, with all payments done for the goods and services delivered until 2014 and the payment for airplane no.7 (the last of the contract); the Hawk medium-range surface-to-air missile system; the ‘IAR 330 Puma Naval helicopter’ programme; the ‘8×8 Piranha armoured personnel carrier’ programme.

Dusa reminded that the participation in the missions in Afghanistan/ISAF and Kosovo/KFOR operation theatres was the main operational effort on 2014 as regards Romania’s commitment within the NATO.

‘Romania’s commitment to the European Union imposed its participation in the operations and missions under the Security Policy and Joint Defence. Therefore, in 2014 the MApN contributed to the EUFOR ALTHEA operations in Bosnia and Hertzegovina, in the EUFOR missions in the Central African Republic, in the EUNAVFOR ATALANTA mission of monitoring by the EU in Georgia, as well as in the training and counseling missions meant to develop the capability of the African states to manage crises, in EUTM Somalia, EUTM Mali, EUSEC Democratic Republic of Congo, respectively’, Mircea Dusa said.

Romania’s participation in operations and missions outside the national territory has totaled almost 1,200 troops in 2014.

In 2014, the number of exercises and training activities at national level grew as against 2013 by 25 pct, while those executed at bilateral/allied level have recorded a 133 pct increase.

 

President Iohannis for first time at MoD review: Conventional and hybrid military actions in Romania’s proximity represent a direct and violent challenge

 

Klaus Iohannis has attended the Ministry of Defence’s activity review for the first time as Romanian President.

“A moment of review can be a formal one or entails cold relations. I assure you however that for me it’s not. (…) There are moments that unite and inspire us. And you, the soldiers of the Romanian Armed Forces, determine us, every time, to rediscover the pride and confidence in the strength of our nation and in ourselves. For this I thank you on my behalf and on behalf of our fellow citizens. I confess that for me, in the exercise of the office of President, there is no other moment as touching as kissing the battle flag,” Iohannis told those present.

The Head of State pointed out that Romania is “in a complex strategic context, characterized by significant transformations at regional and global levels.”

“In Romania’s proximity, conventional and hybrid military actions represent a direct and violent challenge to the legal foundations of European security. In this context, NATO membership, the strategic partnership with the United States, and European Union membership represent the fundamental coordinates of our foreign and security policy. Consolidating Romania’s profile within NATO and the EU represents an essential priority and a component of our country’s security, a line of behaviour typifying good governance. And at the same time it answers the expectations of our fellow citizens.

Eleven years since joining NATO and 8 years since effectively joining the European Union, our country has to consolidate its strategic credibility. In a region characterized by the collision of strategic interests and in a period marked by fast geopolitical changes, credibility represents an important national value in the relationship with our allies and partners, as well as with our own fellow citizens.

Our credibility as a nation depends on several factors: continuity in promoting a European and Transatlantic policy; predictability in assuming foreign policy decisions, in defining national interests and the strategic goals that stem from them; transparency in devising public policies and planning the resources needed for their implementation,” Iohannis added.

 

We need a clear, unitary, coherent legislation, less bureaucracy and endowments matching the current challenges

 

President Klaus Iohannis  also said  at the meeting presenting the 2014 annual report of the National Defence Ministry that a clear, unitary and coherent legislation, alongside less bureaucracy and endowments to match the current challenges and Romania’s commitments, are needed.

‘In my capacity of commander of the armed forces and president of the Supreme Council of Country’s Defence (CSAT), I’ll pay due attention both to matters regarding the issues in keeping with the optimization of the legal and organizational framework of an efficient, quick structure of force and to the good preparation of the Army and its proper training and endowment. We need a clear, unitary, coherent legislation, less bureaucracy and endowments matching the current challenges and our commitments, too,’ Klaus Iohannis said at the MApN HQs.

He underlined the preoccupations he believes should exist further as regards the Army.

‘According to the Constitution’s provisions and within the period provided by the Law of defence planning, I will present the Parliament the new National Strategy of Country’s Defence. This document will assess the international security environment, will present the potential risks, threats and vulnerabilities, as well as the action directions to ensuring Romania’s national security on the long term. According to the law, based on this document and on the White Charter of the Defence, the National Defence Ministry will elaborate a new Military Strategy, the last document endorsed as such dating since 2000. Likewise, in accordance with the commitments and priorities of the current governing programme, the defence strategic revision process should be finalised, with a paramount role upon the planning and generation of national and multinational defence capabilities. The resolving of overdue matters accumulated in the past years and the observation of the deadlines, are a political duty and a proof of responsibility and seriousness. These are essential to ensuring strategic credibility,’ the head of state said.

He said that in accordance with the operational needs and the budget prognoses, grown at 2 pct of the GDP, a rethinking of the strategic framework on the procurement priorities is a must.

‘Our joint target is to ensure toning in of the procurement policies with the defence planning and the resources we’ve got through the budget. In a short-term outlook, it is mandatory to fulfill our goals assumed jointly at the last summit of the North-Atlantic Alliance, in particular the operationalisation of the two new commands, as well as to finalise, in accordance with the calendar set with the US strategic partner, the Deveselu Base’s operationalisation,’ Iohannis added.

He stressed that there will be necessary a more active presence in the development of the Security and Defence Joint Policy of the European Union, given that soon the revision process of the European Security Strategy is to begin.

 

PM Ponta: I was welcomed with military honours at the Pentagon as a sign of respect for the Romanian armed forces

 

Premier Victor Ponta stated on Tuesday, at the Ministry of Defence’s activity review meeting, that Romania will finalize this year, along with its Romanian partners, the missile defence system. In this context, Ponta referred to “House of Cards,” the American television series in which the Russian President asks the American President to stop building the missile shield.

Victor Ponta was present at the MoD’s activity review meeting alongside President Klaus Iohannis.

“In 2015 we will finalize, along with the American partners, the missile defence system that will very clearly show Romania’s determination to have capabilities and to carry through to the end important projects.

I will digress briefly: “House of Cards,” at this moment America’s most watched political television series – of course, fiction – has a moment in which the President of the United States welcomes the Russian President at the White House, and the Russian President says “we will reach a deal on the Middle East if you agree to stop the missile shield in Europe,” and I was wondering whether any of those who wrote the script knew that Romania is in reality, not just in fiction, an important pawn, an important country in such a global thinking that sparks the interest of television series too,” Ponta said at the MoD’s review.

“House of Cards” is an American television series that presents political intrigues in the US.

On the other hand, Ponta reiterated that as a sign of respect for the Romanian armed forces, he was welcomed with “special honours” in Washington.

“I was welcomed in Washington, at the Pentagon, the headquarters of the largest army in the world, (…) with special honours and I asked whether that’s the case with any Prime Minister of Minister that goes to Washington and I was told: “No, that’s what happens for Romania, as a sign of respect for the Romanian armed forces, for those who were by our side in the theatres of operations, for those on whom we rely in a special region.” (…) Any Romanian politician that visits our strategic partners receives these thanks and appreciations for you,” the Premier told the soldiers present at the review.

Ponta saluted President Klaus Iohannis’s initiative of having a political agreement on the financing of defence spending.

“I’m saying it once again – and not out of politeness or political calculus – I salute President Iohannis’s initiative of having a national consensus, a political agreement concerning the long-term financing of defence expenditures, because it is a domain in which the political infighting has to stop. (…) It’s important for you to have this stability and predictability, especially since Romania has to and does a very good job of showing that it first of all understands the rising challenges in the region and the role we have to play,” Ponta said in the presence of the Head of State.

The Premier labelled this political agreement as “a sign of seriousness and stability,” pointing out that Romania’s NATO neighbours have decided to lower their military spending.

“I look at our neighbours that are NATO partners, who have chosen differently. Hungary has lowered its defence spending to 0.75 per cent of GDP, Bulgaria did the same. The fact that Romania assumes at the level of its entire political class the importance we give to this fundamental domain is a sign of seriousness and stability,” Prime Minister Victor Ponta stated.

 

 

 

 

 

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