The Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) on Tuesday approved the 2016 activity report of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI).
President Klaus Iohannis says the report once again shows just how important the SRI job is, especially in the fight against terror.
“We have approved today the 2016 activity report of SRI, which is a full, well-documented report that has shown once again just how important the SRI job is in defending us against terrorists. And in the same province of the fight against terror, there was an item on the agenda regarding how to improve the regulations for the anti-terror operative centre, a document that I found necessary and to the point,” Iohannis said at the end of a CSAT meeting on Tuesday.
2017 – 2026 Army endowment plan, withdrawn from CSAT meeting agenda
The Army endowment plan for the period 2017 – 2026 was withdrawn from the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) meeting agenda on Tuesday, in order to take into account the political will concerning the earmarking of 2 percent of the Gross Domestic Prodcut (GDP) for defence spending, President Klaus Iohannis announced at the end of the meeting.
The reason was the failure to observe the political agreement on allotting 2 percent of the GDP in defence spending.
“A document that we haven’t discussed, that was withdrawn from the agenda, was the Army Endowment Plan for the period 2017 – 2026. It was found that this document neglected an important aspect, namely the political agreement over earmarking 2 percent of the GDP for defence spending for at least a decade. The document was thus withdrawn by the initiator, as it is going to be adjusted for the political will and presented at a future CSAT meeting,” the head of state pointed out.
He added that he has always drawn the politicians’ attention that the Army endowment isn’t appropriate, and the problems are well-known.
“The reason why these warnings haven’t been taken seriously isn’t the topic of today’s discussion, but, since the beginning of my tenure, I have taken this thing very seriously. I have invited the parties and we have decided together to allot an amount of 2 percent of the GDP for defence spending. It is clear, and it has been so since the beginning, that our intention is not to spend all the money on endowment of the weaponry type, but on logistics endowment, for the full endowment of the Army. This regrettable accident, that took place in Arges, shows once more why this endowment is needed and why we must implement an endowment plan,” Iohannis showed.
According to the President, the document having beenwithdrawn from the CSAT meeting and its being discussed at a further date isn’t a problem of principle. “I hope it isn’t a political problem of principle. We have approved the plans and this document was coming in addition. The projects for strategic acquisitions have been forwarded to Parliament at the beginning of the year, approved, and the Defence Ministry is going to put into practice what was decided there. I believe everyone understood that we cannot postpone things here, each day of delay can harm national security. These acquisitions will begin this year, but it will obviously take up a few years until the entire equipping of the Army reaches a satisfactory level,” the head of state underscored.
President Iohannis on EU security and defence strategy: Romania is interested and wants to join the project
President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday, at the end of a meeting of the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT), said that the European Union security and defence strategy was among the topics discussed at the meeting, and pointed out that Romania is interested and wants to participate in this project.
“We have discussed the EU strategy on the security and defence dimension, a document introduced by the Foreign Affairs Ministry. A very important topic to us (…). It is a European initiative aimed at, in a first stage, military research, a study in the manner in which the European defence industry can be improved, and, in perspective, it will study the manner in which national armies will collaborate more closely, will be better coordinated in matters related to the European interest. This report was presented and, in the end, approved,” Iohannis told a news conference at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
According to him, the simplified conclusion is: Romania is interested in this project and wants to become part of it.
“I want to remind you about the discussion we had concerning a multi-speed Europe and I explained then that this no longer in the cards, as projects open to everyone are being discussed, to be joined by anyone who wants and who can. When it comes to security and the security of the external borders, the security of our citizens, Romania wants to join in,” the head of state underscored.
Another item on the agenda of the CSAT meeting on Tuesday was a project resumed annually that provides for the approval of the forces and means of the National Defence Ministry and the Interior Ministry that can be made available for missions outside national territory.
“We have discussed these matters, based on the reports presented by the two ministers – the defence and the interior ministers – and they were approved. I don’t want to get into too many details, however it is important to know that the number of forces that can be made available was increased. We thus have a maximum number (…) of 1,793 persons, military and civilians, who can participate in foreign missions from the National Defence Ministry, and a number of 971 persons, both military and civilians, who can participate on behalf of the Interior Ministry in foreign missions. These are the maximum numbers. In reality, there aren’t so many persons hired at the moment, and there probably will not be in 2018 either, but we have all seen that situation can change from one day to another and we want to be sure that we have a comfortable margin to deploy, when necessary, an additional number of people for these missions. Besides these maximums, also set for each ministry were the numbers of stand-by military and civilians on the national territory, and, in case of crisis, can be additionally allotted,” Iohannis said.
Iohannis: Migration phenomenon, no longer extraordinary
The migration phenomenon, which intensified quite a lot in 2015, is no longer something extraordinary, President Klaus Ioahnnis said at the end of a meeting on Tuesday of the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT), that analysed a report in this respect.
“We have analysed a report of the Interior Ministry on migration developments, illegal migration in particular. This migration phenomenon, which intensified unexpectedly much in 2015, is no longer something extraordinary, but it has become something that we must face on a daily basis. This was also my message to those with the Interior Ministry – to get out of the paradigm that we are talking about a crisis limited in time and to get prepared to deal with this migration movement for many years ahead,” the head of state said.
According to him, data with the EU and the intelligence services with which Romania collaborates show there is no indication that the migration pressure would be diminishing soon.
“We still have, mainly in Africa, signals that must keep us alert. Unfortunately, we don’t have positive signals regarding the war in Syria, therefore, what the Interior Ministry must do is be well prepared for those who will try to illegally enter our country, as well as for those who will be relocated based on the decision made on a European level,” Iohannis detailed.
At the meeting, CSAT also approved a 2017 Defence White Paper, a document presented by the National Defence Ministry, which, according to the President, “was found very