Prime Minister of the Portuguese Republic Antonio Costa, on a working visit to Romania, conveyed on Thursday his support for Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area.
“This is my first bilateral visit in my new term as Prime Minister and I am very pleased to be here in Romania. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Romanian community living in Portugal for its highly positive integration, and for having contributed in recent decades to the development of our country. (…) We are unquestionably supporters of Romania’s Schengen bid and we hope that this integration into the Schengen Area will facilitate the movement of Romanians living in Portugal, exchanges between our countries and peoples, “Antonio Costa told a joint press conference alongside Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca.
He stressed that the Romanian-Portuguese agreement on defense cooperation, signed during his visit to Bucharest, will increase military cooperation between the two countries.
“During our talks, we have identified various areas of cooperation – in the field of energy and in the resilience programs of the two countries and we will find opportunities to make profitable our countries’ support for cooperation and resilience. In recent years we have had excellent experience in bilateral defense cooperation, the best example being the program we have developed together for the purchase of F16 aircraft, and the agreement signed today by the Defense Ministers will also deepen military cooperation,” said Antonio Costa.
Portuguese Prime Minister Costa referred to the mission of the Portuguese armed forces in Romania, emphasizing that NATO will defend the territory of any Alliance country.
“It is a great honor for our armed forces to carry out in Romania the mission assigned to us by NATO to strengthen the defense and the deterrence capacity in the eastern part of NATO, at a time when Europe is facing a belligerent attitude, of violation of international law and barbaric attack conducted by Russia in Ukraine. It is once again the best opportunity to assert our alliance and the full defense of the territory of any NATO country. We, who are in the extreme west of Europe, have no doubt that our security border starts here in Romania, it starts at each of the NATO countries’ borders. Defending our borders means not only defending our national borders, but also the borders of each of our allies. Our armed forces are defending the borders of all NATO countries. We are confident that we will contribute to the protection of all and that we will all have better security and we will be able to ensure peace in Europe,” added Antonio Costa.
According to him, peace in Europe is “an emergency” and war must cease and human lives and the right to sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine must be defended.
The Portuguese Prime Minister expressed readiness to deepen the cooperation between the two countries, through the activity of the working groups that will be created.
PM Ciuca: Romania and Portugal, as EU and NATO member states, prove that they can rely on each other’s support
Romania and Portugal, as EU and NATO member states, prove that they can rely on each other’s support and can establish together very good relations of cooperation, Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca declared on Thursday at the end of talks at the Victoria Palace of Government with his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Costa.
“Our discussion brought together common topics of interest, proving that both Romania and Portugal, as EU and NATO member states, can count on each other’s support and that together they can establish very good relations of cooperation. The talks took place against the backdrop of efforts to reinforce allied deterrence and defense along the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Alliance, and I thanked the Portuguese Prime Minister for the decision to participate in this mission with Portuguese military subunits deployed to Romania. I am glad that today we will have the opportunity to go to Caracal together and thank the servicepeople for the the way they fulfill their mission,” Nicolae Ciuca told a joint press conference with his Portuguese counterpart.
He specified that the climate of continuity in the Romanian-Portuguese relations was underscored during the talks, mentioning in this sense the signing today, by the two countries’ Defense Ministers, of a new bilateral military agreement.
“We are convinced that these relations have a solid foundation and have potential to continue and further develop in specific sectors,” Ciuca added, pointing out that the first pillar of this cooperation was set by Romania’s acquiring F-16 aircraft from Portugal.
“This program didn’t come to end with the arrival of the aircraft in the country, it continues on the basis of a technical and industrial cooperation,” Ciuca said.
According to the head of the Bucharest Executive, a subject tackled at the meeting of the two Prime Ministers was the current situation in Ukraine, including the prospect of the situation growing worse if the Russian forces continue their offensive in the Odessa region.
“It is a concern that we both share and of course we discussed the concrete current situation and the prospects, analyzing the possibility of aggravation if the Russian armed forces continue their offensive in the Odessa region. We discussed the humanitarian support that Romania provides to Ukraine and EU-wide measures to support Ukraine, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia. We openly expressed our support for each of these three countries to be able to follow the European integration path, based on its own merits,” Nicolae Ciuca said.
In terms of bilateral economic cooperation, the Romanian Prime Minister pointed out that, although affected by the COVID pandemic, the economic relations between Romania and Portugal reached their highest level last year.
Ciuca also announced that he and Portuguese PM Costa agreed on setting up a working group at the level of the Energy Ministries, as Portugal has a very good experience in developing renewable energy capabilities.
“We have a very good example – yesterday, a Portuguese company invested in renewable energy infrastructure in Romania. Opportunities exist and we have decided to continue to identify solutions to join the decisions taken at EU level for an as fast as possible transition to green energy and to take the necessary measures to reduce the effects of the rising energy and gas prices,” he said.
Cooperation on battery production was another economic aspect discussed, with PM Ciuca also mentioning plans to organize exchanges of experience in ensuring the implementation of Romania’s digital transition program, given that Portugal has started this project a long time ago.
“There are many areas for which we expressed interest and for which we committed to hold expert meetings in the next period and concretize everything we discussed today,” Ciuca added.
“We are further relying on the political support of the Lisbon government – I discussed with Mr. Prime Minister Costa and we have the guarantee of Portugal’s technical and political support for Romania’s acquiring Schengen membership,” Nicolae Ciuca concluded.
Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO, a national act of will supported by Romania
Romania has expressed its support for the North Atlantic Alliance’s open-door policy, Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca said on Thursday, stressing that Finland and Sweden’s decision to join NATO is “an act of will” on their part, and NATO has demonstrated its “defensive character, its unity, solidity, consistency in action.”
“Romania has shown its support for the open-door policy of the North Atlantic Alliance. Finland and Sweden’s decision to join [NATO] is an act of will of each of the nations, and the current context in which Russia has violated all international rules, has breached the provisions of the United Nations Charter, has resorted to armed aggression against a sovereign and independent state has prompted the two countries to decide to become members of an alliance that has shown its defensive character, has shown its spirit of solidarity, has demonstrated its unity, solidity, consistency in action and the decision to do everything possible to defend every inch of the member countries’ territory. As such, Romania supports these steps,” Ciuca told a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of the Portuguese Republic, Antonio Costa.
The head of the Lisbon government, for his part, said that the accession of Finland and Sweden would strengthen NATO.
“We have expressed our support for the accession of Finland and Sweden. It is a free choice of the two states, two states that will certainly contribute to the strengthening of the North Atlantic Alliance. It is one of the most important aspects of Russia’s defeat, and NATO has emerged strengthened with Sweden and Finland’s bid to join. NATO member states need to approve this accession, and these issues to finalize the accession will be resolved in the diplomatic arena, and NATO will be strengthened by this accession,” Costa said.
Costa: Portuguese Armed Forces – ready to respond to NATO missions
The Portuguese Armed Forces are ready to respond to missions entrusted by NATO’s Command, Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who is on a working visit to Bucharest, said on Thursday, adding that if deemed necessary, their presence in Romania might be extended.
“Portugal has a strong commitment with the United Nations, the European Union and NATO to use its armed forces deployed in various places. We have missions in several African countries and it is very important not to ignore Russia’s global challenge on this eastern border, but on a global scale as well. Portugal has always wanted to participate in NATO missions, in the defense of the Baltic countries and on the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Alliance. For several years we have cooperated intensely bilaterally with the Romanian armed forces, we have experience of joint activity in development projects and the training of officers of the Romanian and Portuguese armed forces to facilitate common knowledge and develop a common capacity for action – the Caracal-based unit, the forces deployed by the NATO Command to Romania – and we also have other forces prepared and ready for action in the missions entrusted to us by the NATO Command,” Premier Costa told a joint press conference with Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca.
The head of the Government in Lisbon mentioned that the Portuguese and Romanian forces are cooperating very well, adding that his country’s military personnel have been welcomed and settled in very good conditions and are carrying out their activity very well.
Asked if the presence of Portuguese forces in Romania could be extended, Costa said that this is possible, if deemed necessary.
Ciuca: Romanian-Portuguese military agreement, open to any form of cooperation in the future
The military cooperation agreement between Romania and Portugal represents the foundation where bilateral relations in the area of defence can continue to develop, Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca declared on Thursday.
In the context of the work visit in Bucharest carried out by the Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa, an agreement between the Romanian Government and the Portuguese Government was signed between the Ministers of Defence of the two countries regarding defence cooperation.
“The agreement signed today by the two Ministers of Defence represents the foundation on which bilateral relations can be further developed. Of course, it may include specific elements in terms of research and development in the defence industry, but it does not include the specific elements of military industrial cooperation, because this field in our country falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Economy. Of course, it is an agreement that practically comes and refreshes the already existing agreement, given the new framework of bilateral military relations and is open to any form of cooperation in the future,” Ciuca said, when asked in the press conference at the end of the meeting with the Portuguese counterpart if the document also includes a defence industry collaboration, aimed at developing common military equipment.
Compiled from Agerpres