President Iohannis addresses to the 52nd Munich Security Conference: Black Sea region is key to regional and Euro-Atlantic security

President Klaus Iohannis said on Saturday that in the current geopolitical context, the Black Sea region proves to be of key importance for both regional security and Euro-Atlantic security overall.

“In the light of the recent events and having in view the geopolitical context, the Black Sea region proves to be of key importance to both regional security and the Euro-Atlantic security overall. We cannot afford to think narrowly in strategic terms, and our competence and expertise can substantially contribute to solving the issues that make up the arc of instability in the Black Sea area,” said the Romanian head of state in his address to the 52nd Munich Security Conference.

The Romanian President considers that shaping the security landscape has always been closely linked to the peoples’ aspirations.

“The commitment towards security and a better life is now challenged in the entire Euro-Atlantic area by multiple factors that boost each other, giving rise to a complex security environment and new relevant risks. From the outside, we simultaneously face multidimensional challenges coming both from the east and the south. Although different in nature, they are essential to Euro-Atlantic security. The erosion of values and norms, as well as the violation of fundamental principles of international law have brought us to the point where we are now. The current situation is also the effect of a lack of political will and determination shown by certain states and other actors to respect the principles, rules and instruments that have been set in place over decades,” Iohannis said.

In his view, the rising threat of terrorism and an unprecedented flow of migrants put added pressure on Europe.

“The migrant crisis, in particular, has proven to us the potential fragility of the European construction and the limited effectiveness of our institutions. Not long ago, the main topic on the agenda was enlargement. Now, we must find solutions to keep the solidity and unity of the European Union, as the European project itself is being questioned. All these challenges we face now not only put security under doubt; they also destroy trust within our societies among people, countries and international political actors. We find ourselves now in a situation which requires more than just reaction and adaptation to the circumstances and the continuous developments in the international environment. We must redefine our future starting from those realities,” stressed the Romanian head of state.

He underscored that the North Atlantic Alliance must be reinforced as a guarantor of Euro-Atlantic security, and that focus must be on collective defense, with massive investments in the political and strategic sector.

“We must treasure the strong transatlantic bond, which is supplemented by an ever-growing European contribution in accordance with the Wales Summit Declaration. I don’t think we have to choose between reassurance and re-commitment. They are not mutually exclusive. I would rather say that we must find the right balance so that we send this message: we are strong and united, we support each other, just as we support our values and principles, ready to defend them if necessary, and at the same time, we want to rebuild confidence because we want a safer and a better world. I welcome the U.S. decision to increase four times the budget for the European Reassurance Initiative. I consider this an expression of commitment to security in Europe and toward our common goals as an organization. The implementation of the decisions reached at the Wales Summit, the bold stimulation of NATO’s long-term adaptation, and in particular strengthening the deterrence dimension will produce the desired impact in Warsaw, “Iohannis said.

He pointed out that Romania remains a pillar of democracy and stability in the region.

“We will continue to be a source of security on the eastern border of NATO and the EU. This year, we increased our defense budget and we have an agreement signed by all political parties in Romania, according to which we aim to achieve by 2017 at least 2 percent of GDP in public spending for national defense. Romania fully participates in NATO’s consolidation. This includes regional initiatives, as well as the constructive commitment of partners and other relevant stakeholders. To this end, on November 4, 2015, myself and President of Poland Andrzej Duda co-chaired NATO’s eastern flank summit in Bucharest. The Declaration on Allied Solidarity and Shared Responsibility adopted on that occasion reflects our commitment to strengthening Euro-Atlantic security through unity, solidarity and NATO cohesion,” mentioned the Romanian head of state.

Iohannis also considers that NATO – EU cooperation and coordination represent a guarantee to security and prosperity.

“We need the reinforced and genuine mutual commitment of each organization. Both the process of drafting the EU’s Global Strategy, as well as preparations for the NATO Summit in Poland must provide an important role for both the eastern and the southern flank, the commitment to enhance the resistance capacity of our societies, a comprehensive vision and actions that ensure the continuity of the efforts already undertaken in the Black Sea area, which is also highly relevant from the perspective of energy security,” Klaus Iohannis concluded.

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