Reshaping the Security Environment in Southeastern Europe – A view from Bucharest

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Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis said on Thursday that there are three main lines of action that Romania supports in the period immediately ahead amidst unpredictable security in the wider Black Sea region, mentioning that Romania encourages an increase in the presence of US military and military equipment in Romania.

“In Romania’s vision (…), there are three essential lines of action to be taken into account in the period immediately ahead. First, solidarity within NATO needs to be strengthened, including by strengthening the transatlantic relationship. Inside NATO, the transatlantic relationship is a guarantee for the optimal functioning of the Alliance and the collective defence defined by Article V of the Washington Treaty. Therefore (…) Romania encourages the activities of US military on its soil, both in a NATO and bilateral framework, as well as an increase in the presence of US military and military equipment in Romania,” President Iohannis told the seminar “Reshaping the Security Environment in Southeastern Europe – A view from Bucharest,” hosted by the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.

He pointed out that Romania also supports the development of the partnership between NATO and the European Union.

Iohannis mentioned that the third major line of action is to ensure the unity, coherence and consolidation of NATO measures on the eastern flank, as part of NATO’s deterrence and defence posture, pointing out that increased mobility of forces and assuring strengthening forces are essential to increasing NATO efficiency.

He said that the process of implementing NATO’s forward presence in Romania and the Black Sea region is in progress but that it has not reached its potential. The head of state underscored the necessity for a better defended eastern flank, including a unitary forward presence, based on an integrated north-south approach from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

Iohannis showed that these lines of action are reflected in the priorities that Romania is pursuing at the NATO Summit in July.

According to the head of state, the security context in the wider Black Sea region is fluid, dynamic and complex, marked by unpredictability and a constant need for adaptation.

He pointed out that Romania’s major objective is to strengthen its security through national efforts and make the best possible use of strategic partnerships, especially with the US, and of its role inside NATO as well as the EU.

Iohannis went on to say that amidst the current NATO security, NATO’s deterrence and defence posture has to be strengthened, while its collective defence dimension against risks, threats and challenges coming from the East should be consolidated.

He said that Romania will continue to support the allied goal of fair sharing of burdens and to meet its commitment to allocate 2 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for defence spending.

Iohannis also said that amidst the current security environment, defence begins with the national soil.

Among the participants in the meeting organised by the American Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) think tank were Peter Doran, CEPA chairman and former commander of the United States Army Europe (USAREUR) Ben Hodges; Chief of Romanian Army Staff Nicolae Ciuca; as well as Romania’s Deputy Prime Minister for Implementation of Strategic Partnerships, Ana Birchall.

CEPA is a non-profit and non-partisan research institute dedicated to the study of Central and Eastern Europe. Established in 2005, CEPA is the only American think tank whose focus is solely on European states and societies.