The plenary session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly taking place in Bucharest on Monday elected its leadership – the President and five vice-presidents for a one-year term in office.
Paolo Alli (Italy), President of NATO PA and vice-presidents Metin Lutfi Baydar (Turkey), Joseph A. Day (Canada), Rasa Jukneviciene (Lithuania) and Lord Campbell (UK) were re-elected for a new term in office. Moreover, Vitalino Canas (Portugal) got elected vice-president.
In NATO PA, the President and vice-presidents can be elected for at least two mandates, of one year each.
The NATO PA treasurer, Marc Angel (Luxembourg) was re-elected, for a new two-year term.
The Parliamentary Assembly of NATO adopted in plenum the resolutions approved on Saturday and Sunday by the specialist committees: “Stability and security in the Black Sea area”, “Strengthened cooperation between NATO and the EU”, “Endorsing national armies and security forces in Afghanistan”, “Splitting responsibilities – respecting promises”, “Splitting responsibilities – respecting promises” and “Maintaining NATO’s technological edge: Strategic adaptation and defence research and development.”
The next NATO PA session will take place in May 2018, in Poland, Warsaw.
Paolo Alli at NATO PA plenary: Bolstering Ukraine, R. of Moldova, Georgia – defending entire Europe and NATO
President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly Paolo Alli stated on Monday, in the opening of the 63rd annual session of the NATO PA that supporting the Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia means defending the entire Europe and NATO.
“Our end of week’s meetings have illustrated once again the great value the Assembly attaches to talks on global and transatlantic security. The spring session in Georgia and the current one in Romania have allowed us to concentrate, first of all, on the evolutions that have occurred in this strategically-important region, that of the Black Sea. North of Romania’s shores, in Ukraine, Russia continues to illegally occupy Crimea and also carries on to support the armed militants in Donbass who violate the Minsk agreements. In the Republic of Moldova, Russia uphold the separatist region of Transnistria and block the resolution of the conflict. On the other shore of the Black Sea, it still occupies part of Georgia’ s territory. These obvious violations of the international law preoccupies us all and are unacceptable. Bolstering Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia means defending the entire Europe and NATO also,” Paolo Alli said.
He added that Russia’s strategy is not limited to this region, and said that Moscow is attempting to consolidate its presence and influence from far North to the Middle East, from eastern Europe to the western Balkans and beyond Asia.”
“It [Russia – ed.n.] is trying to infiltrate into the political spheres and the mass communication media in our countries in order to influence the public opinion. We must stay alert and be on guard, without escalating but also without compromising as regards our interests and values,” NATO PA President said.
Paolo Alli also referred to the challenges faced by the Alliance present at NATO’s southern border.
“The new NATO strategic direction on the southern flank and south of Naples heralds signs of major political importance for NATO’s involvement in the region’s stability. This hub, this centre that I visited in June will help us establish a valuable relation with our partners in the region. Through this all-encompassing, long-term effort to promote stability on the southern flank we must work in close partnership with all the countries that wish to join us and all the institutions in Africa and the Middle East,” NATO PA President declared.
Alli added that on this topic, he will pay a visit in Cairo at the end of October, in order to discuss with the Arab League’s Secretary General about ways to reinforce cooperation.
He pointed out that one of NATO’s commitment lessons in Afghanistan is that creating conditions for long-term stability requires time and can be achieved only by helping the local institutions to develop the tools necessary to guarantee its citizens’ security.
Alli also highlighted NATO’s special responsibility to continue to encourage the Western Balkans to pursue their path towards Euro-Atlantic integration.
“NATO has been sustaining stability and reconciliation in the region for over 20 years. Together with Montenegro’s accession, there are now three countries of former Yugoslavia, plus Albania, that contribute to our common security as NATO members. Bosnia Herzegovina and the former republic of Macedonia have clearly shown that their ambition is to follow the same path. And NATO has kept repeating that the door is open to them. I regret the fact that political obstacles have slowed down Sarajevo’s and Skopje’s progress. All countries in the region also aspire to join the EU and this perspective must remain open for all countries. Europe will not be complete without the full integration of the Western Balkans,” he said.
The NATO PA President added that the challenges the Alliance’s countries are facing are complex and multifaceted and that “no country can pretend, nowadays, that it is immune to the risks of terrorism, both domestic and the imported one, immune to the North Korean threat with its nuclear weapons or the impact of climate change.”
“The threats we are up against are evolving and seem to speed up. Consequently, we need to improve our capacity to anticipate future crises and we must invest in the future generations that will be summoned to assume responsibility for our nations’ security,” Alli further stated.
President Iohannis: Romania will continue to be NATO responsible ally and trustworthy dialogue partner
President Klaus Iohannis, addressing on Monday the NATO Parliamentary Assembly plenary session taking place in Bucharest, said that Romania will continue to be a responsible ally of NATO.
“Romania will continue to be a responsible ally and a trustworthy dialogue partner, as it has proven so far,” the head of the state said in the speech delivered to the NATO PA plenary hosted by the Palace of Parliament.
He pointed out that Romania has become a relevant contributor to ensuring security on a regional level, in the Euro-Atlantic space and on an international level, mentioning the allocation for defence of 2 percent of the GDP starting 2017, for at least 10 years. The head of state showed that, from this percentage, the funds destined to major military equipment acquisitions in 2017 account for almost 40 percent.
President Iohannis also brought to mind the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) having approved the Romanian Army’s Endowment Plan for the period 2017-2026, after Romania’s Parliament approved the initiation of the procedures for eight major endowment programmes.
“Romania has committed to the implementation of all capability targets agreed upon in the Alliance. Equally, we participate in the measures to consolidate the allied presence on the eastern flank, both in the Black Sea region and in Poland,” he showed.
The head of state also pointed out that Romania has assumed the role of framework-nation for the multinational brigade on its territory and has launched the Combined Joint Enhanced Training initiative, to allow allies to train troops in land, air and sea exercises.
Moreover, Iohannis pointed out that Romania has a significant contribution to the allied operations and missions, especially in the Resolute Support missions in Afghanistan and in KFOR.
“In Afghanistan we are the fourth contributor by number of troops and the second in terms of the forces for special operations. We provide concrete assistance to the partner countries both in the eastern and the southern neighbourhood. At the same time, we participate in the efforts of the International Coalition against ISIS, Romania thus concretely supporting the decisions to enhance NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism. All these contributions are an investment in our own security and prove our firm commitment to ensuring sustainable peace on an international level,” the head of state said.
He underscored that the NATO Parliamentary Assembly is a unique forum through its role in consolidating the transatlantic relation and in promoting the values and principles which ensure the foundation of the Alliance. Furthermore, he hailed the presence in Romania of NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, showing that his participation reconfirms the close bond between the NATO PA, which has always been a valuable dialogue partner, and the allied decision-making structures, in the current international security context.
“The current session takes place in an important moment for the Alliance, in which the process to adapt NATO to a security context marked by numerous and diverse challenges is in full swing,” Iohannis said, pointing out that after the aggression against Ukraine in 2014 and following the major security concerns it generated, the Alliance has initiated a wide adaptation process.
He showed that NATO has taken consistent measures on consolidating its defence and deterrence posture, as well as on developing its role in projecting stability beyond its borders.
“In the context of the European security climate worsening, this process continued in 2016 and 2017, with a series of historic decisions related to strengthening the Alliance’s eastern flank, as well as to assuming a more visible role in respect to the challenges in the southern neighbourhood. The process of implementing these decisions continues, and the national parliaments have a structural role in the member states’ observing the assumed commitments, including in allotting the necessary resources for defence,” Iohannis showed.
“Advanced presence on Eastern Flank must be reinforced, especially in Black Sea
“The advanced presence on the eastern Flank must be reinforced, especially in the south, at the Black Sea, in all its dimensions. The current differences between the measures taken for the north of the Flank and the ones for the south must also disappear, shaping an advanced, persistent and predictable sole presence,” the head of the state maintained in his speech at NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly, taking place in Bucharest.
The head of state stated that the 2018 NATO Summit will be an important stage for consolidating the Alliance’s measures, for strengthening security in Europe, context in which he presented Romania’s perspective to that end.
“I can say that it is high time again we strengthened partnerships: firstly, the transatlantic partnership, then the partnerships among us, the members of the Alliance, by continuing the efforts to reinforce the collective defence and the internal resilience in the face of the variety of threats we are confronted with. These are complemented by external partnerships with the states interested in cooperating with the Alliance in view of maintaining peace and security, as well as of developing their defence capability. Last but not least, the NATO partnership with the European Union,” President Iohannis said.
He underscored that the transatlantic partnership between North America and Europe remains “an essential component of our common security.”
“Within NATO, a solid transatlantic tie embodies the very engine of the allied security, which is substantially linked to the efficient enforcement of article 5 of the Treaty,” Iohannis added.
“We must continue to bolster this vital relation, both by finding together solutions to the current security issues, and also through a fair contribution to sharing the responsibilities incumbent on us, which also means the increase in defence investment,” Iohannis underscored.
He pointed out partnerships among the Alliance members must be “stronger than ever”. “The decisions to strengthen collective defence, through NATO troops deployment on eastern allies’ territories, as part of the advanced presence, are living proof of allied solidarity and unity. We must continue to work at consolidating the defence and deterrence posture of the Alliance, at enhancing its efficiency and coherence,” Iohannis specified.
The President indicated that, at domestic level, these strictly defensive measures must be doubled by resilience-strengthening actions, especially of protection of civilian infrastructure in the face of hybrid, cybernetic or informational aggressions.
Klaus Iohannis underscored that the vast network of partnerships of the Alliance with all the states that think of NATO as cooperation partner also needs consolidation – for the development of each partner’s own defence capabilities, of the resilience to threats they are confronting with, from the hybrid to the terrorist ones.
“Romania will actively continue to support this effort,” the head of state added.
He declared that strengthening the NATO partnership with the European Union represents another priority, context in which he hailed the efforts of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in that respect, giving him assurances as to Romania’s full support.
“Even if the Union makes relevant steps in developing the defence dimension – in which Romania wished to participate from the start, these steps must be made in strict complementarity with the Alliance. From our perspective, there is no choosing between the European Union and NATO – these are complementary options not alternatives, if we wish to have long term security,” Klaus Iohannis concluded.
Jens Stoltenberg hails in NATO PA session Romania’s important contribution to Alliance
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, addressing on Monday the annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly taking place in Bucharest, hailed Romania’s important contribution to the North Atlantic Alliance, voicing appreciation for Romania’s participation in the missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan and the 2 percent of the GDP allotment to defence spending.
In his speech in the NATO AP plenary, Stoltenberg also pointed out the importance of Romania hosting some components of the anti-missile defence system.
He began his speech by thanking Romania for hosting this meeting and for the numerous and very solid contributions to the Alliance, to common defence and security, adding that Romania is important in very many ways – its contributions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, as host of the ballistic missile defence system and for the intention to spend 2 percent of the GDP on defence. The NATO official added that Romania wants to keep safe the almost one billion citizens of the NATO states.
In his address, Jens Stoltenberg underscored the importance of member states allotting more substantial funds to the defence area in the context of the emergence of new threats to security. Thus, he mentioned that in 2016 only five allied countries allotted at least 2 percent of the GDP (goal set at the September 2014 NATO Summit in Wales), and hailed Romania’s decision to earmark 2 percent of the GDP this year, while Latvia and Lithuania are to reach this threshold in 2018.
Stoltenberg reaffirms NATO collective defence clause
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed on Monday in the plenary session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly the collective defence clause of the North Atlantic Alliance and underscored the importance of the allied mission in Afghanistan.
He said that NATO is an alliance that keeps its promises, adapting to the new security challenges, extending its presence in the east, increasing its response to challenges, enhancing resistance to threats, supporting its partners and bringing the cooperation with the EU to a new level. He went on to say that he participated in all the discussions with the multinational groups and met with members of the allied troops in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, adding that the operational troops are on site and fully operational. An attack against one of the allies will be an attack against all of them, Stoltenberg underscored.
The NATO official insisted on remarking the importance of an enhanced NATO presence in the Black Sea area.
He also called on Moscow to get involved in the international commitments, as NATO doesn’t want to isolate Russia and doesn’t wish for a new ‘cold war’, and the Alliance actions are meant to prevent and not to produce conflicts.
Stoltenberg also referred to the situation of Afghanistan, stressing that the instability in this country, in the Middle East and Northern Africa has been a trigger for the terrorist attacks in NATO member states, and showing that NATO has played a role in the fight against terrorism for many years.
“Cooperation with EU, relations with Russia, among important topics of NATO Summit in 2018”
The cooperation with the European Union, the ongoing modernization of the North Atlantic Alliance and the relations with Russia will be important topics of the NATO Summit in 2018, to be hosted by the new Brussels headquarters of the organization, said on Monday NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in the plenary session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
In his speech, Stoltenberg said that preparations have commenced for the next NATO Summit to be held in Brussels next year, with the Alliance to continue to build on the decisions made in Wales and Warsaw, by increasing allied collective defense, stability and security brought to the neighbours in the east and in the south. The relations with Russia will be a very important topic, as well as the cooperation with the European Union and the ongoing modernization of the Alliance. Crucially, going forward represents for the Alliance investing in defense.
The official voiced concern with Russia’s military actions close to NATO’s borders and Moscow’s lack of transparency in connection with the military drills ZAPAD 2017, which highlights the need for a two-direction approach against Russia, combining solid defense with substantive dialogue, including within the NATO-Russia Council.
Jens Stoltenberg stressed that the current hybrid threats to security, including cyber-attacks and misinformation, are now faster and more intense than ever, and an essential part of NATO’s mission is to combat these threats.
According to the secretary general of the Alliance, strengthening the cooperation with the European Union has an important role to play in this demarche, as neither NATO nor the EU can fight threats alone.
According to the allied official, a challenge is posed also by the fragmentation of the European defense industry.
Senate’s Tariceanu: Renewed political commitment by Alliance, fair defence costs sharing needed
Senate Chairman Calin Popescu-Tariceanu said in the speech delivered on Monday at the 63rd annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly taking place in Bucharest that a debate is needed – mainly at parliamentary level – on security developments and the challenges facing NATO countries, and that a renewed political commitment by the Alliance is necessary.
“The importance of this meeting is proportional to the high complexity of the times we live today, which call for a debate, mainly at parliamentary level, on security developments and the challenges facing our countries. Terrorism, cyber threats, aggressive actions by state and non-state actors, the tense relations with the Russian Federation, the frozen conflicts or hybrid threats, all these are on our joint agenda of priorities. Today, more than ever, we need a strong Alliance based on a solid transatlantic bond. All these call for a renewed political commitment by the Alliance and a fair sharing of defence costs,” said the Senate Chairman in the speech delivered to the NATO PA session.
Tariceanu mentioned Romania’s political commitment to allocate 2 percent of GDP for defence, stressing that all states need to invest in strengthening their defence capability.
The Senate Chairman also pointed out that Romania “participates in a highly active manner in strengthening eastern flank security”.
“I would like to highlight the contribution of the Bucharest nine format – a platform for dialogue and consultation on developments in the Baltic and the Black Sea area from the perspective of Euro-Atlantic security, which joins the nine countries from NATO’s eastern flank. Me and my Warsaw counterpart Stanislaw Karcewski, Marshal of the Senate of the Republic of Poland, agreed on the importance of shaping a parliamentary dimension of the Bucharest B9 format, which has a significant potential in promoting common approaches to the benefit to the entire Euro-Atlantic community, in complementarity with government demarches for the preparation of the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels,” Calin Popescu-Tariceanu said.
He announced that next year, the first B9 Summit at parliamentary level will be organized in Bucharest between April 17 – 19 under the aegis of the Romanian and Polish Senates, and that the heads of the legislatures of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania have been invited to attend.
PSD’s Dragnea: We all want strong Alliance, based on complementary, efficient cooperation with EU
Deputies Chamber Speaker Liviu Dragnea told the plenary sitting of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly in Bucharest that we all want a strong Alliance, based on a solid transatlantic relation, a complementary, efficient cooperation with the European Union.
“We also want the full and unhesitatingly implementation of the commitments assumed, together with the prompt acceptance of responsibilities, the budget ones included, by all partners,” Dragnea affirmed.
He said that Romania’s attachment to European and Euro-Atlantic structures is well known, and underscored that our country has allocated the budget resources necessary for defence, “as few states have done”.
“Romania’s vocation as well as attachment to European and Euro-Atlantic structures are well known. We have made and we continue to make important efforts to enhance our profile within the European family. We have allocated the budget resources necessary for Defence as few state have done. Our relations with the transatlantic partners bear strategic importance to us, and the Romanian servicemen have contributed with courage and determination to the theatres of operations and are successfully defending the first line of the European and transatlantic border,” Liviu Dragnea highlighted.
Speaker Dragnea: Promoting mutual respect, dialogue among states, major conflict-prevention ways
Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea, addressing on Monday the 63rd annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly taking place in Bucharest at the Palace of Parliament, said that the Black Sea region is key to the security landscape and Romania is interested in ensuring stability in the area, being “among the most vocal defenders of dialogue”.
“I think we all agree that we are now facing a rise in the challenges on the eastern flank. The Black Sea is a key region to our security landscape. As you know the situation here is turning increasingly complicated as a result of the area’s remilitarization, the persistence of frozen conflicts by using it for the tacit manifestation of hostility and, more recently, by its reactivation as a migration route to the EU. Therefore I warmly welcome the initiative to discuss the problems of this region within the Assembly. At a political level, a top-serious approach of the subject is imperative to the benefit of all the Allies. Given our geographic location, we are in the first place interested in ensuring stability because any conflict escalation puts us in the unwanted situation of having to directly confront them,” said Dragnea in remarks to the plenary session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
He mentioned that Romania believes that dialogue and the promotion of mutual respect among states are ways to prevent conflicts.
“We firmly believe that the development of economic cooperation, the promotion of mutual respect among states and dialogue are the top important ways to prevent conflicts. Therefore we are one of the most vocal advocates of dialogue. We actively contribute under various formats, both at bilateral and multilateral level, towards integration and regional stability,” said the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies.
He went on to say that the responsibility of the Alliance is to act within international law, stressing that “it is necessary to promote through dialogue and cooperation the firm preservation of the recognition of the national borders of the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia”.
The Chamber of Deputies Speaker underscored the necessity of implementing in full and without hesitation the undertaken commitments, pointing out that Romania has “one of the best prepared, efficient and technically equipped frontiers”.
He called on the lawmakers to support in their national fora the pledged goals of adequate resource allocation.
Dragnea mentioned that the EU and NATO memberships are complementary.
“A competitive European defence is in our common interest, yet we must be extremely careful that the two organizations do not overlap, but complement each other. Hence adequate budgets, transatlantic partnership, intelligent European cooperation, top notch equipment, stable and powerful neighborhood, regional dialogue, this is what we want for the future of NATO and for our future within this alliance,” Dragnea concluded.