Defence Minister Mihai Fifor has said that the statements he made within the Defence and Security Committee of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly were erroneously translated and quoted, pointing out he made no mention of the Government discussing the idea of a “military Schengen Area” and that he will notify the organisers of the event and will also notify the Senate’s Committee for Culture and Media.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued several statements after “the media erroneously quoted” the statements that Minister Mihai Fifor made within the Defence and Security Committee of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly.
MoD: No discussions in Gov’t on setting up a military Schengen; it cannot be done without joining Schengen Area
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) categorically denies the public allegations according to which the setting up of a military Schengen has been discussed inside the Government, mentioning that this cannot be done without Romania continuing its bid to join the actual Schengen Area.
According to an MoD release, the allegations are the result of the mass media coverage of the statements that Defence Minister Mihai Fifor made within the Defence and Security Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA).
“We firmly deny the idea launched in the public space, according to which the setting up of a military Schengen Area was discussed within Romania’s Government. We mention that the phrase ‘military Schengen’ refers generically to the simplification of procedures and legislation of the European countries, in order to facilitate the movement of NATO troops, from one country to another, so that participation in exercises involving a large number of troops and equipment takes place swiftly,” the press release reveals.
As the quoted source mentions, from 2014 until now, NATO and Romania’s Armed Forces made substantial efforts in order to increase the operational capacity of the NATO Response Force for an efficient response of the Alliance in crisis situations.
“Minister Mihai Fifor, in the speech he delivered, mentioned that a military Schengen cannot be done without our country continuing its demarches to join the Schengen Area. Romania has met all the requirements that were imposed, according to agreed and committed terms,” MoD added.
According to the same source, Fifor said he is aware of the bureaucratic procedures at Romania’s borders, underscoring that it is not possible to discuss the military Schengen without the Schengen Area itself.
“We have also spoken of bureaucracy. We are very aware of the bureaucratic procedures at Romania’s borders. This is why we insisted and I do it on behalf of the Government, we cannot talk about a military Schengen, without mentioning the Schengen Area itself. Of course, military convoys queue at the border, because these are the rules. We are somehow trying to create new rules, but all are part of the general policy referring to Schengen. I underscore this once more. If we must discuss a military Schengen, let’s go back to the agenda of Schengen itself and discuss it once more. I strongly believe that Romania deserves to be part of the Schengen Area. This is an important aspect for us in our efforts to prove that we are a trustworthy partner for the Alliance, as well as for the U.S.,” Fifor said at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, according to the MoD release.
According to the MoD, based on initial verifications, the minister’s statements were erroneously translated, “profoundly changing the meaning of the statements,” so that Mihai Fifor will notify, on Monday, the organisers of the event for them to take the measures required.
At the same time, Mihai Fifor will also notify the Senate’s Committee for Culture and Media, for it to verify the way the Agerpres press agency used the translation and the ministry’s subsequent observations, the MoD added.
Likewise, on Sunday morning, the Minister of Defence wrote on Facebook that he “marvels” at how a message can be misrepresented.
“Since yesterday I keep marvelling how an extremely conclusive message I issued yesterday at NATO’s PA, in response to a question from the plenum, can be misrepresented. (…) Let’s be very clear: my stance is clear and trenchant. We will not talk about a military Schengen outside Romania’s Schengen agenda. This topic was never tackled within the Government. That is what I stated yesterday and I invite those who take the liberty to play with words to ask for the recording of the statement I made yesterday within the Plenum. Starting off from all of this, later tomorrow we will lodge a notification with the Romanian Senate’s General Secretariat and with the Senate’s Committee on Culture and Media, for them to clarify the way this error occurred. I don’t think such things are permissible at this level,” Fifor wrote on Facebook.
Head of Romania’s delegation to NATO PA on DefMin’s speech: Wrong translation is somewhat strange; I recommend speaking Romanian
Senator Vergil Chitac, the head of the Romania’s Parliament’s delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, stated on Sunday, in respect to National Defence Minister Mihai Fifor’s speech, delivered during the works of the NATO PA Defense and Security Committee, that it is “somewhat strange” for a wrong translation to be made, mentioning that he recommends that the Romanian language be used in “such important moments.”
“What is somewhat strange is for a wrong translation to be made. This is why, in order to avoid such situations, in the future, it’s best that, in such important moments, the Romanian language be used. We are the host nation, we have translators, it’s nothing wrong. It is even a very patriotic gesture to speak in the Romanian language so that you, the journalists, understand exactly what the minister stated,” Chitac said.
When asked if the idea of talking in the Government about a military Schengen would be a serious issue, Vergil Chitac answered: “I don’t want to speculate, I am not a specialist in diplomacy. I don’t know if it is serious or less serious. What is certain is that Minister Fifor says it wasn’t discussed. Therefore, from now on we have nothing to talk about.”
The clarifications came in the context in which the National Defence Ministry (MApN) informed that “from the first verifications,” the statements made by Minister Mihai Fifor on Saturday at the 63rd annual session of the NATO PA, which was held at the Palace of Parliament, “were incorrectly translated, and their meaning was profoundly altered.” The translation was provided through headphones by the organisers”.