DIPLOMACY

PM Ciolos: I’ve confidently welcomed US decision to increase European Reinsurance Initiative budget

Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos says he has confidently welcomed the US announcement on the increasing of the budget for the European Reassurance Initiative.

“I have confidently welcomed the announcement that the US is quadrupling the budget for the European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) for 2017. The decision underscores the strong US commitment to European security while embracing the joint objectives we share as far as regional and national security is concerned,” Ciolos said Thursday in a press statement.

He also pointed to a political commitment to increase Romania’s defence spending to 2 percent of GDP in 2017 so that the country may adequately respond to current and future challenges.

“Our strategic partnership provided the necessary framework for the development of the relationship. I am convinced that the steps we take together lead to the guidelines that all of Romania’s security strategies have underscored, backed up by large public support. We have a political commitment to increase defence spending to 2 percent of GDP in 2017 as we see fit in order to have adequate responses to current and future challenges,” said Ciolos according to Agerpres.

Dacian Ciolos reminded that Romania has taken the commitment to earmark 2 per cent of GDP for defence starting next year, in order to “adequately” respond to current and future security challenges.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry stated on Wednesday that the US announcement on the decision to increase the European Reassurance Initiative’s budget fourfold for 2017 shows “the determination to ensure a robust American military presence in Europe,” Mediafax informs.

The Obama Administration plans to substantially boost military capabilities in Central and Eastern European NATO states, in order to counteract Russia’s aggressiveness, the funds for this plan being included in the 2017 budget, The New York Times informs.

The US Administration will ask for a military budget of USD 3.4 bln for Eastern Europe in 2017, compared to the USD 789 M currently allocated.

The Pentagon will use the funds to supplement military capabilities – heavy weapons, armoured vehicles and other equipment – deployed in NATO member states in Central and Eastern Europe.

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