According to an announcement made by the Presidential Administration on Sunday, on Monday starting at 5 p.m. President Klaus Iohannis will present before the joint Chambers of Parliament a message concerning Romania’s National Defense Strategy.
The National Defense Strategy was sent by President Klaus Iohannis to Parliament on June 12 and the Parliament’s special commissions unanimously approved it last Wednesday, the report of the commissions set to be voted during the Parliament’s plenum meeting on Monday after the Head of State’s speech.
The National Defense Strategy 2015-2019, titled “A Strong Romania in Europe and the World,” has four chapters: “Defining national security interests and objectives,” “Assessing the international security environment,” “Threats, risks and vulnerabilities” and “Directions of action and the main manners of ensuring Romania’s national security.”
“Traditionally, national security and defense threats, risks and vulnerabilities are assessed from the standpoint of military concepts, however the current security environment calls for an expanded approach that would include, apart from security elements, also elements of an economic, social, political, technological and environmental nature,” the National Defense Strategy reads under the “Threats, risks and vulnerabilities” chapter.
Corruption is listed among Romania’s vulnerabilities.
“Corruption renders the state vulnerable, causes damage to the economy and affects the country’s development potential, good governance, the decisions to the benefit of citizens and communities, as well as the confidence in the act of justice and in state institutions. Externally, the persistence of corruption has a negative impact on our country’s credibility and image,” the document reads.
The absence of a multi-annual budget plan that would determine the adoption and respecting of investment programs has negative effects also in what concerns boosting the capabilities of the armed forces and respecting defense spending commitments. The central and local administration’s capability to implement national and European public policies represents another vulnerability, the document shows.
Also listed among the threats are “the destabilizing actions in the eastern neighborhood, which generate major challenges for the security of the Euro-Atlantic space, creating regional instability and possible negative phenomena, including migration, organized crime, but also affecting the economic development potential.”
Other threats are represented by the perpetuation of frozen conflicts in the Black Sea region and instability in the Western Balkans, which generate added pressure on Romania. “Interethnic tensions and regional imbalances in neighboring states can lead to the start of regional conflicts,” the document points out.
“Energy market distortions and competing projects from state or non-state actors affect Romania’s efforts to ensure a sufficient level of energy security. Cyber threats launched by hostile state or non-state entities to IT infrastructures of strategic interest belonging to public institutions and companies, cyber attacks launched by cyber crime groups or extremist cyber attacks launched by hacker groups directly affect national security,” the National Defense Strategy reads.
“Terrorism is a persistent threat, with forms of manifestation that are difficult to anticipate and counter, including from the point of view of identifying and dismantling the recruitment and financing flows of these activities. The national forces taking part in missions abroad are exposed to the risks and threats generated by the actions of terrorist forces, organizations and groups. Growing fundamentalist propaganda, particularly in the virtual space, favors the emergence of new cases of radicalization or involvement in extremist-terrorist actions,” the National Defense Strategy points out, Mediafax informs.
Tariceanu: National Defense Strategy entails move toward presidential republic
The new National Defense Strategy has generated cracks within the ruling coalition. The document has been grilled by the joint leadership of the Senate and Lower Chamber on June 15. According to the meeting’s transcript, the Senate Speaker was the first to voice his dissatisfaction with this strategy and tried to postpone its adoption, but was surprisingly countered by the Lower Chamber Speaker.
Tariceanu, Senate Speaker and President of the Liberal Reforming Party (PLR), pointed out during the joint meeting of Parliament’s Permanent Bureaus that he was not invited at the Presidential Palace for talks on this issue and does not believe the document can be approved in its current form.
“We, as a party, were not invited at Cotroceni, at the talks that took place in relation to the National Defense Strategy. Consequently, I was only able to take note of this document when it was sent to the Senate and I read it. Just as you have probably noticed, the National Security Strategy includes, apart from traditional concepts, a series of concepts taken over from president Basescu, concepts according to which all the other domains – economic environment, energy, sustainable development, health, education, social protection, agriculture, everything – are included in national security. Consequently, we are dealing with two things that are taking place simultaneously: the transfer of these prerogatives, which are the Government’s, to the Presidency, as part of the National Security Strategy, and, obviously, rendering the Government’s activity deprived of substance, in other words the move toward a presidential republic. In other words, apart from the national security issues, toward which I am sensitive, this idea of consolidating presidential power, the main feature of the previous president’s term in office as I was saying, is being pursued in a “subtle” way,” Tariceanu said at the meeting according to the transcript.
Thus, he deemed that the document cannot be voted in the form proposed, stating that he does not contest the president’s prerogative to devise the strategy but that this is about a certain way of approaching inter-institutional relations.
Tariceanu also addressed PNL MPs, telling them: “Let’s not beat around the bush, you can’t do that, you’re a bit too old for that. So, don’t feign forgetting that, for years, PNL was engaged in a far from easy struggle with former president Basescu, who attempted as best he could to do what I told you at the beginning, namely to transfer executive powers to the presidential institution. While back then we all agreed that that is not acceptable, I understand that now you have no kind of problem with it when the president is the current holder of the office at Cotroceni and you want this. I remained faithful to my beliefs. And this is not a national defense issue, but it’s a much wider political issue and that is why I am telling you: take it easy, don’t rush so much.”
The Speaker of the Lower Chamber was an unexpected backer of the National Defense Strategy.
“This strategy has been discussed for several years now, and the previous one was negotiated by all parliamentary groups,” Valeriu Zgonea said.
Harsh attacks between former party colleagues ensued.
“All ministers voted in favor of this Defense Strategy within the Supreme Defense Council. (…) We risk seeing this parliamentary sitting end without the Romanian Parliament adopting Romania’s Defense Strategy,” Ludovic Orban, the leader of PNL MPs within the Lower Chamber, stated.
Criticism was also levied in what concerns the text that came from Cotroceni.
Ilie Sarbu, leader of PSD Senators: “It’s only a narrative presentation. (…) For instance: what is terrorism? It is a persistent threat in its manifestation, difficult… And? What is the strategy? You telling us what terrorism is? We know what terrorism is. (…) I believe even high school children know this, that arms smuggling, especially weapons of mass destruction… And? What is the strategy? (…) Is it secret?”