Joint press point
by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Romania, Viorica Dăncilă
So Prime Minister,
Welcome to NATO. It is a great pleasure and honor to meet you here at NATO Headquarters. Romania being such a staunch and highly valued Ally. It’s really great to have you here. This year is the fifteenth anniversary of Romania joining our Alliance.Your membership has been important for NATO and for Romania. You contribute to our shared security in many different ways and your contributions are making us all stronger and safer.
Romanian forces are part of NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan, helping to stabilize the country. And you contribute to stability in the Western Balkans with your troops in the KFOR mission. In Europe, Romania serves in our multinational battlegroup in Poland. Romania also plays a crucial role in the security in the Black Sea region. Including with a Romanian-led, multinational brigade in Craiova; air policing and a strong naval presence. Romania also hosts a site for NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence, at Deveselu. Helping to protect Europe from missile threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area. So thank you for all that Romania does to make us all more secure.
At the start of January, Romania assumed the presidency of the European Union for the first time. NATO and the EU are already working more closely than ever, in areas including military mobility, cyber and hybrid threats, and maritime security. And I welcome your plans for further strengthening NATO-EU cooperation during Romania’s presidency.
We face a more dangerous and unpredictable world, so it is important that all Allies invest in defence. I welcome therefore Romania’s plans to spend 2% of GDP on defence this year. And that you intend to modernise your armed forces over the next decade. This is important, because fair burden-sharing means more than just cash. It also means investing in modern capabilities, and contributing to NATO missions and operations. I encourage Romania to continue on this path.
So Prime Minister,
Once again welcome to NATO and many many thanks for your leadership and your strong commitment to the Alliance.
Viorica Dǎncilǎ [Prime Minister of Romania] [Interpreted]: I would like to thank Secretary General Stoltenberg for the warm welcome and for the substantial discussions we have had. This is an important moment for Romania. During the first half of this year, we have the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and we also celebrate 15 years since our country's accession to the North Atlantic Alliance. At the same time, in 2019, NATO celebrates 70 years since its founding. All these landmarks prompt us to a strategic reflection on the modalities to answer as efficient as possible to the challenges that we are confronted with. Under these auspices, I have assured the Secretary General that Romania remains a staunch Ally.
We strongly support a strong Alliance and also the strengthening of the transatlantic relation, which is crucial for the Euro-Atlantic security. We have fulfilled and we will continue fulfilling all our responsibilities within NATO. We have significantly increased the budget allocated to the defence sector and we provide special attention to the programmes meant to modernise and procure new equipment for our armed forces. We are present in the Allied theatres of operation and I'd like to mention here Afghanistan, as Romania is there as one of the most important contributors, as well as our participation to the measures taken in order to strengthen the defence on the Eastern Flank, on the national soil as well as in Poland.
The sacrifice of Romanian soldiers, to whom I'd like to pay a tribute on this occasion as well, represents the ultimate proof of our commitment within NATO. I have presented the Secretary General with the Romanian priorities during our Presidency of the Council of the European Union, with a focus on such priorities and that improving cohesion and cooperation among member states, facing the new security challenges, as well those priorities which would like to ensure a more visible role to the European Union on the global scene. We wish for the European Union to strengthen its capacity, to answer to any security threats.
However, as a NATO partner, I have underlined the importance that Romania provides to the further development of the NATO-EU partnership, based on a number of specific measures taken by the two organisations. The EU actions taken on security policy area must complement Alliance's actions and should avoid any overlapping. We are confronted with more and more common challenges, such as hybrid attacks, including the cyber-security area, and the use of disinformation and of fake news in order to create tension and distrust. We must face such challenges together. These are some of the topics included within the priorities that Romania will have throughout its mandate, at the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, as well as within NATO.
We are still witnessing some complex security challenges in the immediate neighbourhood of the Alliance. We upheld the Romanian government support towards the important progress achieved in the process of adapting NATO to the new realities and we have focused on the need for this process to continue. Strengthening NATO's defence and deterrence posture represents a priority which requires sustained efforts from behalf of all Allies. During the discussions we had today, we have had a substantial exchange of assessment on the security situation in our region, with a focus on the developments in the Black Sea area. The defence on the Eastern Flank and in the Black Sea region is an integral part of these efforts and it represents a paramount action for the entire Alliance, and Romania will continue to pay special attention to these efforts.
I have underlined that the Black Sea security represents an integral part of the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic area, and the Alliance needs to have a strategic approach in this region. At the same time, we upheld the importance of deepening cooperation between NATO and its partners; those in the southern neighbourhood as well as with those in the eastern neighbourhood in the Western Balkans. Our partners require a strong support from the Allies in order to be able to face the existing security risks, and Romania is prepared to have an active contribution in this respect.
Concluding, we will continue our excellent cooperation with the Alliance and we will be waiting for the Secretary General to pay a visit to Romania, in order to participate to the meetings organised under the auspices of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, as well as in order to continue our dialogue on security topics. Thank you.