NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference on Monday in Bucharest that Romania is an influential and steadfast NATO ally.
I really thank Romania for your strong contribution to our presence in Afghanistan, he said. Let me also thank Romania for your leadership in cyber defence, including NATO’s Cyber Defence Trust Fund for Ukraine. Last but not least, I commend your announcement to spend 2 percent of GDP on defence this year and your commitment to maintain that level of spending for the next ten years, he added. Romania is leading by example, helping to give the Alliance the capabilities we need and ensuring fairer burden-sharing, Stoltenberg said after a meeting with Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
He pointed out that Romania is an influential and steadfast NATO ally.
Stoltenberg thanked Iohannis for hosting a multinational brigade in Craiova.
In the air, Canada and Italy are reinforcing the efforts of Romania and Bulgaria to keep NATO airspace safe. And in the Black Sea, we are present with more ships and more naval exercises. Together, these measures send a clear message: NATO is strong and NATO is united, added Stoltenberg.
He pointed out that Romania is essential NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence, as well as to NATO missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan.
Iohannis: Deveselu Project functioning and developing
President Klaus Iohannis stated on Monday that the Deveselu programme is running and developing, showing that supplementary facilities in this case need to be further studied before being implemented.
“I believe this matter has been misunderstood by some people, who are worried about Romania’s security. The fact that people are concerned is excellent and I want to make something clear. The Deveselu programme moves ahead as planned. The programme’s essence is planned, financed and going ahead. Members of different armed forces who wanted to discuss if supplementary defence of the facility is needed, so not of the facility core, but the supplementary defence of the facility as such. Or, this matter needs to be further studied because such systems that are not part of the defence unit core, if not well prepared and not well communicated, can raise new fears, or something like that cannot be studied in a few months and that is not desired, and that is why the decision has been recently made in the USA. The conclusion is as follows: the Deveselu programme is functioning and developing according to plan, supplementary facilities intended for additional defence and still unseen of the Deveselu facility must be better studied before being implemented. (…) Nobody needs to panic. The situation at Deveselu is excellent,” Iohannis stated at Cotroceni Presidential Palace, after the meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, referring to the US Senate decision not to supplement the budget for the air defence capability at the anti-missile system in Deveselu.
In his turn, the NATO Secretary General underscored that NATO’s ballistic defence is developing as planned.
“We continue to develop ballistic defence as planned,” Stoltenberg highlighted.
He specified that additional capabilities besides the ones already agreed upon and currently under implementation are being discussed in the United States.
“We have inaugurated the Deveselu facility which is extremely important for the entire Alliance so that we can continue to better our ballistic defence,” NATO Secretary General pointed out, adding that a similar facility will be built in Poland that will become operational in 2019.
“Multinational Brigade of Romania is a clear sign of NATO’s determination and presence in the region”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also stated on Monday in Bucharest that the Multinational Brigade of Romania is a clear sign of NATO’s determination and presence in the region.
He believes it is important to understand that the Multinational Brigade of Romania is not just a part of NATO’s response to a more assertive Russia, that increased its presence in the Black Sea region, especially in Crimea. The Multinational Brigade is important precisely because it’s multinational. The high official said it sends a clear signal of NATO’s determination and presence and that an attack against an ally, against Romania, will be seen as an attack against the entire Alliance. He added that besides the Brigade, NATO has strengthened its presence in the air space with air patrolling missions, with contributions from Italy and Canada, as well as its naval presence, by conducting several maritime exercises and using more ships.
He revealed that the deterrence and defence posture of NATO implies also the participation of the Romanian forces, but also those of the Multinational Brigade in the region.
He added that NATO’s capacity to deploy forces has increased. The official went on saying that NATO’s has a very fast intervention force that can be deployed within days, and the connection between the Alliance and the Romanian forces has consolidated through the establishment of some new headquarters. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that many things were done in order to increase NATO’s advanced presence, including in Romania, through the Alliance’s improvement in consolidating faster its presence with better trained forces.
“NATO and EU – clearly complementary, must go together”
President Klaus Iohannis also stated on Monday that he and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discussed the relation of the North-Atlantic Alliance with the European Union, pointing out that the two are not separate, but clearly complementary projects and must go together.
“An aspect that I underscored in particular is the NATO – EU relationship. (…) I believe it’s extraordinarily important that NATO and the EU don’t have different, but common approaches, that their actions are not parallel, but complementary and that we have shared interests and goals. (…) I believe that everybody understands that the EU and NATO are not two projects to choose from, but are clearly complementary and they must go along together,” President Klaus Iohannis stated at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace after the meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
“Crossed presence of Romania, Poland on eastern flank shows dividing in subassemblies not good”
Romania’s head of state believes the crossed presence of Romania and Poland on the eastern flank of NATO is an example that dividing the alliance into subassemblies would not be very good.
“We, the Romanians, are participating in the allied presence in Poland, as Poland, Romania’s strategic partner, participates in the multinational brigade. This crossed presence – Romania in the northern part of the eastern flank, the Poles in the southern part of the eastern flank – is a concrete example of cohesion and an example that Romania and Poland wanted to show in order to indicate that the eastern flank is unique and subdivisions are not very good. Of course, it is gratifying that significant developments have taken place in the area, but we believe it is still not enough,” Iohannis told a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
He showed that progress had been made with the presence of NATO in the Black Sea and that efforts would be continued to strengthen the alliance’s maritime posture.
In addition, Romania’s President said he had discussed with the NATO secretary general the preparation of the NATO Summit in Brussels and the significant progress with implementing NATO’s advanced presence in Romania and also in the region.
“We have succeeded in taking important steps to make the Multinational Brigade in Craiova operational (…). Romania has also hosted and contributed a sizeable contingent in the last year of extensive NATO exercises, of which I would like to mention the Saber Guardian exercise, a very large exercise. I was personally at this exercise and I am pleased to acknowledge the high level of interoperability of the Romanian Armed Forces with the Allied Forces. We want to keep up a sustained pace of the joint exercises both on the national soil as well as elsewhere in the region. For that to happen, we will also use the intensified training framework at a joint level or, as it is called, Combined Joint Enhanced Training, the Romanian initiative adopted in Warsaw as part of the advanced Allied Presence. At the same time, the allied air presence in the country has been consistent in 2017 and will remain so in the period ahead,” said Iohannis.
Iohannis added that NATO should strengthen its progresses by showing that “credible defence and deterrence requires persistent and robust NATO presence and a unitary approach of the eastern flank.”
“I am convinced that we will identify together the best concrete measures that we will then adopt at the summit,” Iohannis said.