The opening of Monday’s plenary session, which will be chaired by Paolo Alli, President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, will feature speeches delivered by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
More than 300 delegate parliamentarians from the 29 NATO member states plus delegates from 23 associate or observer states are meeting in Bucharest, at the Palace of Parliament, at the 63rd session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA).
This is the third session taking place in Romania, after the ones in 1997 and 2011. The event, which has brought to Romania more than 50 national delegations, coincides with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s official visit to Romania.
Tensions with Russia, security in the Black Sea area and the threat of terrorism from the Middle East were on the agenda of the talks and debates, NATO parliamentarians having on the agenda of the event hosted by Romania’s capital city the adoption of resolutions that would call for the hiking of defence expenditures of NATO members, the reduction of the fragmentation of European defence industry, as well as the strengthening of relations with the European Union.
The opening of Monday’s plenary session, which will be chaired by Paolo Alli, President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, will feature speeches delivered by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Lower House Speaker Liviu Dragnea, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. On this occasion, the Assembly’s draft 2018 budget will be presented and put up for vote, elections for some leadership positions will take place, and the resolutions of the special committees will be debated and put up for vote.
The five special committees – the Political Committee, Committee on Defence and Security, Science and Technology Committee, Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security and Committee on Economy and Security – have debated during the summit in Bucharest a series of reports on security and defence topics, which were debated during the spring session that took place in Tbilisi, Georgia. The specific topics will be discussed with the representatives of the member states’ governments, the representatives of academia, of civil society and of NATO.
The topics tackled include support for NATO’s operations in Afghanistan, closer NATO-EU cooperation, stability and security in the Black Sea area, the risks of instability in Eastern Asia, the humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq.
“NATO PA’s annual session is surely the most important one we have organised so far, or at least since the end of the Cold War, because it takes place in a period in which the NATO Alliance is being profoundly undermined and the destabilisation, if not actually the dismantling of the European Union is being attempted,” Vergil Chitac, head of the Romanian delegation, stated on Friday at the opening conference. According to Chitac, the fact that Romania hosted NATO PA’s annual conference three times in 20 years shows we are “reliable, willing and devoted members of the Alliance.”
In his turn, NATO PA President Paolo Alli stated that on the Alliance’s eastern flank there are “rising” tensions with Russia, which has an “aggressive” behaviour, emphasising the importance of a military and political effort on the part of the Alliance to live up to these challenges. “On the Alliance’s eastern flank, we have growing tensions with Russia and security in the Black Sea is crucial not only for Romania, Bulgaria and other countries bordering the Black Sea, but also for Europe and for the North Atlantic Alliance,” Alli said. At the same time, Alli said that Romania is one of the most important partners of NATO, thus emphasising the importance of Romania’s involvement in what concerns the assurance of Euro-Atlantic security.
“The funds necessary for organising the annual NATO PA session in Romania were provided via Government Decision. The expenditures were divided between the Senate and the Lower House, in line with a protocol. The plenary hall’s audio-video system was purchased for this event, the translation system within the press conference halls, the lighting system within the plenary hall, the vehicles for protocol and delegations, the IT logistics for the halls that will host the most important NATO PA proceedings. The expenditures total 10,898,000 lei,” Lower House Secretary General Silvia Mihalcea stated on Thursday at the Palace of Parliament.
Resolution on the weaponization of information, adopted by NATO Committee on civil dimension of security
The resolution on “the weaponization of information” was unanimously adopted by the Committee on the civil dimension of security, on Sunday, at the 63rd annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), which is taking place at the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest.
The draft resolution was presented by Rapporteur Jane Cordy (Canada), who mentioned that the document includes aspects regarding the challenges to cyber-security.
Furthermore, Jana Cordy mentioned that the West invented the internet and social media, but these technologies were used against it.
“This draft resolution recognizes the efforts made. The establishment of a special institution is recommended, that will identify and counter misinformation attacks,” the official said. “It is an important thing, although we must be realistic and recognize that we cannot counter all this false information with the weapon of truth,” she added. “We will have to enforce restrictive measures, remove the content and create a blacklist of different accounts. We will have to adapt quickly, to incorporate the mass media aspects into the military personnel training,” said Jane Cordy.
Cordy also revealed that more should be invested in educating citizens, developing IT skills and critical thinking so that people recognize fake news.
Moreover, the committee unanimously adopted two amendments to the resolution. The first was proposed by the French delegation and refers to the observance of fundamental freedoms and the second one was proposed by Germany, and aims at increasing strategic communication of NATO in the Balkans region, that might also be a target of Russia.
Resolution on stability, security in the Black Sea region adopted by Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security
The resolution “regarding the stability and security in the Black Sea region was unanimously adopted by the Committee on the civil dimension of security, on Sunday within the 63rd annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly ( NATO PA), which is taking place at the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest.
Special Rapporteur Ulla Schmidt (Germany), who presented the draft resolution, said that the stability of the Black Sea region is huge and the resolution is based on the report and discussions that were carried out in order to confront challenges.
Representative of Romania’s delegation to the Committee on the civil dimension of security Angel Tilvar stated that all five amendments made by Romania’s delegation have been admitted.
“This resolution is important for Romania and started from the premise that the Black Sea region is of strategic importance for NATO. Unfortunately, in this area, the military force has been used two times over the past ten years, and the region’s stability and security have been seriously affected by the illegal annexation of Crimea, followed by its strong militarization and by the situation in Eastern Ukraine,” Tilvar stated after the resolution was adopted.
He mentioned that through the amendments that were proposed, it was stressed the importance of all measures adopted by NATO as a response to the security situation of the Black Sea region and the fact that NATO took on an active role, as a collective defense organisation.
“Another amendment aimed to underscore that in Moldova, despite all political hardships and challenges, there is will for making progresses in certain areas, in certain hot topics and we believe that the fight against corruption and strengthening the rule of law are important, and we wanted to underline this thing. And another amendment wanted to reiterate that the decisions adopted at the Warsaw Summit are further representing priorities and a part of these decisions are connected to the Black Sea area and are important. Furthermore, in a last amendment, we wanted to stress that any solution regarding the Transnistrian conflict must observe the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova,” Tilvar said.
In his turn, Mihai Ghimpu, the representative of the delegation of the Republic of Moldova to the Committee on the civil dimension of security, stated that the amendment that he filed was rejected.
When asked what the Republic of Moldova expects from NATO and its partners, Ghimpu responded: “To unite with Romania and, therefore, solve the NATO problem and the integration in the European Union. (…) The decision belongs to us, the citizens of the Republic of Moldova. If we are to reach a majority who understands that our country is Romania and we have a future there, pensions, wages, stability, all that we need, then, neither Russia nor NATO can stop us.”
NATO PA Political Committee adopts ‘Sharing responsibilities. A new perspective’ resolution
The NATO PA Political Committee adopted on Sunday a resolution which formalizes the member states commitment to earmark 2 percent of the GDP for Defence, out of which 20 percent for military equipment, head of the Romania’s Parliament’s delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Vergil Chitac stated.
“It’s true that we adopted today a reviewed resolution within NATO PA Political Committee, regarding the issue of sharing the burden. It was decided at the NATO Summit in Wales for each member state of NATO to allocate at least 2 percent of the GDP for defence, out of which 20 percent for military equipment. We all recognized, in the introduction, that NATO is now more necessary than ever for ensuring the stability process, especially in the Euro-Atlantic area we are part of. Moreover, we are all aware of the challenges that Russia started since 2014, with the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, over Europe in general and the Eastern flank of Europe, starting from the Baltic Sea and reaching the Black Sea,” Vergil Chitac said.
According to him, the stability and ensuring security on the Eastern flank of NATO is not just for the countries of the area, but for the entire Europe, for the entire Euro-Atlantic space.
He added that this resolution strengthens the decision of Wales Summit.
“We believe- and we all convened in the Political Committee through this resolution – that we must strengthen what was decided at the NATO Summit in Wales and formalize the fact that we, the NATO member states, commit to granting at least 2 percent of the GDP for defence, out of which 20 percent for military equipment which must be complementary. Just as Minister Melescanu underscored, the relation of defence between the EU and NATO should be complementary and not parallel,” Chitac said.
Science and Technology Committee General Rapporteur Marino says NATO’s technological edge wearing away
General Rapporteur Thomas Marino (U.S.) stated on Sunday within NATO Science and Technology Committee, which takes place in Bucharest, that NATO’s technological edge is wearing away and something needs to be done in this regard, underscoring that the Alliance will remain a leader in technology only if the allies take on together NATO spending.
General Rapporteur Thomas Marino presented on Sunday the draft resolution called “Maintaining NATO’s Technology Edge: Strategic Adaptation and Defence Research and Development,” that was unanimously adopted by the Committee.
NATO’s technological edge is wearing away and we must do something about it, he said. At the same time, we witness extraordinary changes in science and technology. Innovations in many sectors are determined by the private sector. Many times, the technological side disturbs SMEs and even individual ones. The armed forces try to keep up with innovations or even efficiently and quickly enforce it. As a consequence of these changes, our economies no longer have the monopoly over strategic technologies in which we should be international leaders, he added. The official went on to say that these developments create critical challenges for the transatlantic community (…) National defence budgets have been reduced, stagnating until recently. (…) Russia’s defence research and development budget doubled from 2012 to 2015 and some experts believe that China’s research and development budget will exceed that of the U.S. by 2022, said Thomas Marino.
Marino recalled that over two thirds of NATO spending is ensured by the U.S. and explained that by fairly distributing this burden, NATO will remain a leader in technology.
He went on to say that in 2014 the leaders solemnly took on this burden, therefore, the U.S. expects the observance of this commitment. He believes that a common European Union defence fund can help research and development capabilities in order to restore the industrial defence base of Europe. He added that NATO remains the foundation of transatlantic security, mentioning that the Alliance is ready to handle any risks and threats.
CREAS Director Fallon says security threat in Eastern Asia is becoming increasingly powerful
Director of the Centre for Russia, Europe, Asia Studies (CREAS) Theresa Fallon said on Sunday at the 63rd annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which takes place in Bucharest, that the security threat in Eastern Asia has become increasingly powerful.
She said, in her presentation titled “The risks of instability in Eastern Asia,” which she presented within the committee on the civil dimension of security, that the security threat in Eastern Asia has become more and more powerful. She added that there is a change in the balance of power, including the threat of weapons of mass destruction, the proliferation of terrorism, cyber-attacks. She went on to say that a strategy is yet not clear and the U.S. is trying to pursue previous policies, but Trump has a disturbing effect with this personalized approach.
In her opinion, the risk of political instability is increasing.
When referring to North Korea, Theresa Fallon said that specialists are expecting a new ballistic test.
On Tuesday morning, a national celebration is to take place in North Korea, thus analysts expect a new ballistic test to occur, she added.
Furthermore, she talked about the South China Sea. While everybody looks at what is happening in North Korea, there is a tacit agreement that the People’s Republic of China will help America in the North Korean problem. What are they doing? They use the tensions in that area to boost the militarization of the South China Sea, Fallon said.
When referring to the South China Sea, Theresa Fallon mentioned that there is a territorial conflict between China and Japan, given the presence of energy reserves there.
Moreover, she tackled Islamic militarism in South-East Asia, mentioning that it represents a very serious problem.