Minister of National Defense Nicolae Ciuca told the Bucharest Forum on Friday that the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic are raising concerns and that the authorities must make sure that “this health crisis and the economic recession do not become a security crisis,” noting in his speech that “the new paradigm of the post-COVID economic and financial crisis will likely have a global impact on Defense.”
The Defense top official also spoke about Romania’s commitment to modernizing its armed forces.
“We, at the Ministry of National Defense, are very determined to carry on with the modernization of the Romanian army, fully aware that in addition to the advantages of having modern capabilities, which have an impact on our training and activity, two key elements arising from this initiative will influence future investments,” he said, mentioning in this regard maintaining the allocation of 2 percent of GDP for Defense until 2026, and identifying and implementing the best methods by which Romanian companies can get involved in the procurement program.
With regard to Defense procurements, Nicolae Ciuca referred to interoperability with NATO, the EU and strategic partners as key prerequisites for such these to be carried out.
Reminding that this is the fourth year when the Romanian Defense benefits from 2 percent of the GDP, the DefMin said that 6.05 billion euros are allocated from the state budget between 2020 – 2023 for the purchase of major importance equipment, for the modernization of the army.
The minister noted that the pressure of the health crisis will affect the procurement and research budgets.
“We know that prioritizing Defense spending in the midst of a health crisis is not an easy task. At the same time, we are aware that the threats that existed before the pandemic have not diminished. These threats also mean the use of new technologies, including artificial intelligence, to put us to the test and destabilize us. Governments need to invest in new technologies to deter new threats in the future,” he said.
Nicolae Ciuca reminded that the first PATRIOT system has been recently deployed to Romania, making it “the first ally on the eastern flank to have such a system,” and highlighted the Romanian investments in the modernization of the “Mihail Kogalniceanu” military base, so as to turn it into “a pivot hub at the Black Sea.”
Photo: Facebook/Nicolae Ionel Ciuca