President Klaus Iohannis told a debate in northern Satu Mare on Monday that political support as well as financial resources are required for Romania to have modern armed forces.
He said that the Romanian troops, in the absence of state-of-the-art military hardware, have compensated by devotion, intelligence and seriousness.
“The armed forces of Romania are one of the most important contributors toward Romania’s credibility in the world. In the allied formats, in the absence of state-of-the art military hardware and endowment, the Romanian troops have compensated for with dedication, intelligence and seriousness. We can talk a lot, and I believe they deserve it, about their spirit of sacrifice, professionalism and patriotism. These are the undeniable attributes that have turned the armed forces into one of the most publicly revered institutions in Romania, with all polls indicating that Romanians trust the armed forces very much,” said Iohannis.
He added that modern armed forces require political support, mentioning that he has managed to obtain the agreement of all parties over earmarking 2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for defence spending.
“These are not always sufficient and if we really want modern armed forces that will really meet the challenges currently facing us – and we are faced with an impressive series of challenges – we quickly reach the conclusion that modern armed forces require political support, but, obviously, resources, and mainly financial resources as well. This is precisely the reason why early last year I invited the parliamentary parties for a discussion and we reached an interesting consensus. It is for the first time after the 1989 Revolution that Romania reached such a political consensus, and I mean here the consensus over the allocation of 2 percent of the GDP for defence spending, a level that will be kept in place for at least one decade. Only that budget will allow us to meet not the needs of the army, but the needs of Romanians for modern armed forces. Increased funding has been a political action that has to be doubled up by a process of multiannual planning. A larger budget will be in vain unless the funds are responsibly distributed,” said Iohannis.
He warned that material resources have to be predictably used, given some instances in which expensive equipment has been purchased with a very low interoperability.
“Romania’s ambition is to strengthen its position as predictable regional actor”
President Klaus Iohannis also told a debate in the northern city of Satu Mare that Romania aspires to strengthen its position as a predictable regional player, but that this requires adequate hardware, strategic analysis and planning, and the army’s transformation into a modern and strong force.
“Romania has the ambition to strengthen its position as a predictable regional player with an important strategic role of keeping stability not only inside the country, but in the entire region. This ambition can obviously not be fulfilled just by talking about it, it takes much more than that. It requires adequate hardware, strategic analysis and planning, the army’s transformation into a modern and powerful force and, in this context, it is of course necessary to identify a balance among the three defence dimensions – air, land and sea – to be fully consistent with the country’s long term strategic vision in relation to the Allies, but also as regards the potential adversaries,” said Iohannis.
The head of the state considers that Romania has fulfilled its commitments undertaken at the Warsaw Summit.
“We can prove that we have not just the capacity to ensure national security, but to also act as security providers in the region. Romania’s success at this summit is due not just to political and diplomatic approaches, but – to a very large extent – to the credibility enjoyed by Romania’s army with the allied forces, and this is exactly why we obtained the establishment of a multinational brigade on Romanian soil,” said the President.
Iohannis added that the Defence Ministry has decided that the Craiova-based 1st Infantry Brigade ‘Rovine’ shall take over as multinational brigade, declaring in 2017 what manpower it participates with and how it will organized, so that it be operational in 2018.
“EU states do not seek European army, but strategy to render national forces compatible”
President Klaus Iohannis argues that the EU states do not want to create a European army, but seek to devise a strategy to render national armies far more compatible for effective joint interventions.
“This idea of a European army is not new. At this moment, what we seek, at the level of EU leaders, is not to create a European army, but coalescence or a process of rendering national efforts consistent. (…) What is sought in this stage is the analysis and the advancement towards a strategy to render national forces far more compatible, to coagulate efforts and create the premises for effective joint interventions, yet without creating an army that is subordinated to, say, the European Council or the Commission,” Klaus Iohannis said in reply to a question from the audience on Monday, as he participated in the debate “The Army – a Fundamental Institution of the State. A Source of Confidence and National Pride” at the North Theatre in Satu Mare.
The Romanian President mentioned that at present, although the states have performing armies, they lack inter-correlation, and in this context he cited the example of the Syria conflict, where Europe has its hands tied.
“You see, in Europe, the – at this time still 28 members, just 27 in two years – spend a lot on Defence. There are performing forces, highly efficient personnel, with advanced systems, but there is too little correlation and for this reason, for instance, Europe does not count too much in the Syria conflict. Of course, we all say something different at meetings, that we are important and that we come up with diplomatic approaches, which is fair enough and welcome, but how can we explain to a European citizen that we, Europeans, which are geographically the closest to Syria, cannot intervene there to make peace. There are many other situations where, despite significant European resources available, we fail to agree or to reach a timely agreement,” said the President.
President Klaus Iohannis, Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration, Deputy PM Vasile Dincu and Minister of Defence Mihnea Motoc, participate in the debate “The Army – a Fundamental Institution of the State. A Source of Confidence and National Pride” at the North Theatre in Satu Mare.
Army Day: Defence Ministry delegation and veteran militaries injured in mission pay visit to Afghanistan
A delegation of the National Defence Ministry (MApN), led by State Secretary for Defence Policy and Planning Stefan Tinca paid a visit to the Romanian militaries who are on mission in Afghanistan’s theater of operations, on the occasion of celebrating the Army Day.
According to the MApN, as a first nine of the veteran militaries injured in Afghanistan who were in an extremely bad shape at the moment of medical evacuation returned to the theater of operations to meet their colleagues currently in mission.
“Officials and veterans discussed with the militaries who took part in the training for a combat mission and paid a visit to the ROL III type hospital in Kandahar. For Captains George Olteanu and Danut Nicola, Principal Adjutant Sergeant Marius Apostol, Major Sergeants Nicusor Bica, Daniel Riza, Marius Barbu, Dumitru Paraschiva and Sergeants Ionut Butoi and Adrian Cretu this visit represented a proof of courage and character strength, and at the same time an important stage of their recovery process,” a release sent to Agerpres on Monday reveals.
Currently 780 militaries are involved in international missions, among whom 629 militaries in Afghanistan. Romania’s Army lost 28 militaries in theaters of operations, and over 180 were injured.