Europeans have to find out what unites them amidst leaders talking about an existential crisis of the European Union, Chairman of the Aspen Institute Romania Mircea Geoana told the opening on Thursday of the Bucharest Forum 2016 that is running till Friday under the auspices of Aspen Institute Romania.
The event gathers high-ranked officials, diplomats , representatives of the business environment and world experts who debate on the strategic changes ahead in a changing European and world dynamic. The talks will focus on the two important neighbours of the EU, Russia and Turkey, and on the manner in which the changing dynamic in the south and east of Europe influences Romania, as well as the region’s security, political and economic prospects.
According to the organisers, 350 participants and over 100 speakers from Europe, America, the Black Sea region, the Caucasus region and Central Asia are expected at the event.
Geoana sketched out in his speech the European context in which the forum takes place. “There are very few moments in history when we can witness such a combination of varied and complicated themes. Some European leaders are talking about an existential crisis of the Union. I tend to be less pessimistic. In Europe, along with our partners, there is an extraordinary potential for us being relevant in the world. We cannot be indifferent particularly in a place like Romania, which has a geostrategic role to play,” said Geoana.
He said that the first instinct of the states at times of peril is to get isolated. And yet, isolation is not the answer, he said.
“We have kind of a warning system. We feel danger before it manifests itself. We have, so to say, a sense of vigilance in our ancestral brain. When things like that happen, our first temptation is to go our way, defending our national interest, becoming egotistic and strengthening our old partnerships. That is not the answer. The answer is rediscovering what unites us as Europeans, as friends of the trans-Atlantic relationship,” added Geoana.
He said the 5th edition of the Bucharest Forum tries to put forth solutions because “the world is changing; there is so much danger at the borders, there is so much tragedy in Syria, there is still tension lingering on in Ukraine, so much ambiguity in Moldova and so much litigation in the Black Sea region.”
Geoana underscored the link between Aspen graduates and leading offices held by them in various public and private organisations.
“Many people are asking why so many graduates of the Aspen leadership programmes have advanced to key offices in the Ciolos Cabinet, companies, and NGOs. Why? Because what we do is related to principles and leadership. What we do is trying to bring Romania’s potentials closer to the every day’s life of people,” he explained.
“We want to show there is continuity in public policies and the strategic ambitions of Romania. (…) We want to be a loyal, unbiased partner,” said Geoana.
Ambassador Klemm: US – Romania partnership stronger than ever. President Iohannis asked me to focus on economic ties
The partnership between the US and Romania is stronger than ever, particularly as security is concerned, US Ambassador in Bucharest Hans Klemm on Thursday told the Bucharest Forum event, adding that President Klaus Iohannis had asked him to focus on the economic relationship between the two countries.
Unity within Europe and the partnership between the US and Europe are paramount to global prosperity and security, the diplomat said.
Klemm added that a recent assessment in Washington had found that the relationship between Romania and the US is at a historic high.
I recently participated in the annual assessment in Washington of the Romania – US relations. (…) The conclusion of both governments was that never have Romania – US relations been stronger and had a more powerful contribution to the transatlantic agreement than now, in October 2016, said Klemm.
He specified that not only will Romania meet the requirements of the NATO Summit in Wales to assign 2 percent of GDP for Defence, but that it also makes a profound contribution to transatlantic security, security in the Black Sea region, as well as in remote areas, such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
As far as security is concerned, our bilateral partnership has never been stronger, said the Ambassador.
He also referred to the economic ties of the two countries.
“President Iohannis told me that Romania wants more from the US in terms of economic relationship and asked me to focus on the development of bilateral trade and investment ties”, said Klemm.
He also emphasized the current government’s contribution to the economic environment.
“If we are successful in this area, this is also because of the influence of the Ciolos Government on improving the promotion of investment and trade, the business climate in Romania, on establishing a national strategy for energy, addressing key investors, including important companies based in the US”, explained Hans Klemm.
The Ambassador reiterated the US appreciation for Romania’s anti-corruption fight.
“Romania’s fight against corruption has made this country grow not only in the eyes of the US, (…) but turned it into an example for this part of the world”, said Klemm.
Romania’s contributions have paved the way for this historic moment when our partnership is stronger than ever, he underscored.
The US Ambassador also referred to the elections that will take place at the end of the year, both in the US and in Romania.
“The challenge now, when both the US and Romania have a crucial period of elections ahead, is for these two countries to emerge from these political moments in such a state that allows them to continue to strengthen their ties and contribute to European, transatlantic security and security here, in the Black Sea region”, Klemm said.
Hopefully, the new government that comes to power will have a ‘legacy’ to later build upon, the Ambassador stressed.
Hans Klemm emphasized the importance of future efforts in Romania for the reform of public administration, the fight against corruption and the growth of the foreign capital market.
DefMin Motoc: It is important to translate Warsaw Summit conclusions into practical results
National Defence Minister Mihnea Motoc underscored on Thursday in Bucharest Forum event the importance of obtaining some practical results following the NATO Summit held in Warsaw.
“We have a complex plan in the southern part, which cannot be compared with what exists in the Baltic Sea area. (…) From the start, our plan is much more comprehensive in the sense that it covers all areas, land, air and sea, and an intensive training programme,” the National Defence Minister said,
According to Motoc, Romania has been very active and worked very closely with its allies and neighbours in the Black Sea area.
“We reached the point in which we must be certain that the multinational force we proposed and which was approved in Warsaw will truly be multinational and there won’t be only Romanian troops in NATO colours,” Motoc said, who showed that there already are commitments in this direction.
Romania’s contribution is the chance to be a part of a cooperation and integration process, the minister added.