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B9 Summit Declaration: Klaus Iohannis and the other leaders from NATO’s Eastern Flank underscore the importance of the forward presence of NATO from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea

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The Presidents of Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia adopted on Thursday at the plenary session of the B9 Summit a declaration which underscores the importance of the forward presence of NATO from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and the concern for the situation in Ukraine.

The nine leaders from NATO’s Eastern Flank countries have gathered in Košice on Thursday in the Bucharest 9 platform for consultation and dialogue to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Alliance, as well as the 20th and 15th anniversary of the accession of our respective countries to NATO.

Also, the leaders met to reaffirm their strong commitment to collective defence, as enshrined in the Article 5 of the Washington Treaty based on solidarity, shared responsibility and the indivisibility of Allied security. Concurrently, they exchanged views on current security threats and challenges and ways how to address them.

For the last 70 years, NATO has served as the bedrock of security in the Euro-Atlantic area. (…) As we meet today, we face the most difficult security challenges in a generation. In the spirit of 360 degrees approach, the Alliance should continue to be ready to respond to all threats and challenges from wherever they arise.  (…) Today, we are better prepared to confront the current security challenges. Our countries contribute to Alliance’s adaptation. In the spirit of allied unity, solidarity and fair burden sharing, we underline the importance of NATO´s forward presence from the Baltic to the Black Sea, as well as other initiatives aimed at strengthening our ability to defend our citizens and territories as part of the allied collective effort to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence“, the nine presidents underlined after the meeting which was attended also by the Secretary General of NATO.

The Declaration of the Heads of State Bucharest 9 Meeting (Košice)

1. We, the Presidents of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,  Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic, have gathered in Košice in the Bucharest 9 platform for consultation and dialogue to:

– commemorate the 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Alliance, as well as the 20th and 15th anniversary of the accession of our respective countries to NATO;

– reaffirm our strong commitment to collective defence, as enshrined in the Article 5 of the Washington Treaty based on solidarity, shared responsibility and the indivisibility of Allied security;

– exchange views on current security threats and challenges and ways how to address them.

We appreciate the presence of the NATO Secretary General today.

2. For the last 70 years, NATO has served as the bedrock of security in the Euro-Atlantic area. It remains the unique framework for our collective defence, transatlantic dialogue and plays irreplaceable role in protecting our values and safeguarding security of our citizens and our territories. Our membership in the Alliance created an opportunity to fulfil aspirations of our nations and provided the security and stability for economic development and well-being of our societies while advancing the vision of Europe whole, free and at peace. At the same time, our countries have been strengthening their capabilities to contribute to Allied collective defence.  

3. As we meet today, we face the most difficult security challenges in a generation. In the spirit of 360 degrees approach, the Alliance should continue to be ready to respond to all threats and challenges from wherever they arise. We have, therefore, every reason to make our Alliance stronger and to ensure that the transatlantic bond remains as solid and effective as ever. We are determined to work towards this objective, including through our commitment to spend 2% of the GDP on defence, modernising our defences and engaging in operations. We welcome and support strengthened military presence of the United States and Canada in Europe, particularly on NATO’s Eastern flank.

4. The threats and challenges we face are complex, often unpredictable and coming from all directions. No country can fully address them alone. They range from conventional and hybrid forms, including cyber, to terrorism, regional instability, irregular migration, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and threats to our energy security. We are faced with an intense use of disinformation and propaganda. Traditional lines between military and non-military warfare are fading.

5. Today, we are better prepared to confront the current security challenges. Our countries contribute to Alliance’s adaptation. In the spirit of allied unity, solidarity and fair burden sharing, we underline the importance of NATO´s forward presence from the Baltic to the Black Sea, as well as other initiatives aimed at strengthening our ability to defend our citizens and territories as part of the allied collective effort to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence. We also support the implementation of the strategic, focused and coherent NATO approach to the South. We acknowledge the participation in relevant NATO activities, including the mission in Afghanistan as part of the efforts towards peace and reconciliation.

6. We remain particularly concerned with the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and recent tensions in the Azov and Black Seas stemming from the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea and military build-up. This is another manifestation of Russia’s disregard of international law, its confrontational pattern of behaviour and use of military and also non-military actions, such as the construction of the Kerch Strait bridge, to advance its geopolitical goals. All of this calls for even more coherent and strategic approach from the Alliance. We are also gravely concerned by Russia’s material breach of the INF Treaty and failure to return to full and verifiable compliance, which led to the suspension of the Treaty and the United States’ notification of withdrawal. We continue to take necessary steps in the Alliance to ensure the credibility and effectiveness of NATO deterrence and defence posture and remain firmly committed to the preservation of effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.

7. We reiterate our support to NATO’s approach on Russia based on strong deterrence and defence, and openness to dialogue as agreed since Wales Summit with a view to avoiding misunderstanding, miscalculation, and unintended escalation.   

8. The anniversaries of our countries’ accession to the Alliance reminds us how crucial NATO´s Open Door Policy has been for enhancing security of its members, for peaceful reunification of Europe and for stability of the whole Euro-Atlantic area. We will continue to support further NATO enlargement in line with the Article 10 of the Washington Treaty. We welcome the recent signing of the Accession Protocol and look forward to the Republic of North Macedonia becoming the thirtieth NATO Ally.

9. We remain committed to the security and stability in the Western Balkans, an area of strategic interest to the Alliance, and will continue the political dialogue and practical cooperation with partners in this region. We also reiterate our firm support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, within their internationally recognized borders. While pursuing their respective European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, these countries will continue to benefit as well from our support in their efforts to strengthen their resilience against any external interference. At the same time, we reiterate that progress in reforms should be based on democratic values, respect for rule of law, human rights, and full compliance with their respective international commitments and obligations.

10. We believe that stronger NATO and stronger EU are mutually reinforcing. Together they can better provide security and peace in Europe, in our neighbourhood and beyond. We are supporting an enhanced EU role in security and defence through developing initiatives in this area in full complementarity and synergy with NATO. We are determined to strengthen NATO-EU strategic partnership and cooperation.

11. We look forward to December NATO Leaders´ Meeting in London that will enable us to take stock of implementation of decisions we took in Wales, Warsaw and Brussels and advance adaptation of the Alliance to address security threats and challenges we face. We remain committed to continue meeting in the Bucharest 9, platform for dialogue and cooperation, as a means to consult each other, promote joint approaches and contribute to Euro-Atlantic security.

Robert Lupițu este redactor-șef, specialist în relații internaționale, jurnalist în afaceri europene și doctorand în domeniul reasigurării strategice a NATO. Robert este laureat al concursului ”Reporter și Blogger European” la categoria Editorial și co-autor al volumelor ”România transatlantică” și ”100 de pași pentru o cetățenie europeană activă”. Face parte din Global Shapers Community în cadrul World Economic Forum și este Young Strategic Leader în cadrul inițiativelor The Aspen Institute.

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INTERVIEW Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, ahead of a major conference in Bucharest: Our objective is to make the European Union a security provider in a more complex security environment

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© The Parliament Magazine

Romania has a big responsibility this year in taking forward all the different EU defence initiatives, says Jorge Domecq, the chief executive of EU body for defence – the European Defence Agency – before a paramount conference in Bucharest dedicated to research and innovation in the defence sector.

In an exclusive interview for CaleaEuropeană.ro ahead of the Conference that will take place at the Palace of Parliament on Tuesday, Mr. Domecq pointed out that the event aims to take ”stock of where we stand in defence research in Europe” and highlighted to role Romania plays in this framework.

Moreover, the chief of EDA pointed out that in a world where threats are complex and the model of war is changing, Europe needs to do more together on disruptive technologies and, especially, in artificial intelligence.

Teodora Ion: Together with the Romanian EU Council Presidency, EDA is organizing a conference in Bucharest focused on “Capability-Driven Defence Research and Innovation”. What is your main aim and objective with this event?

Jorge Domecq:  The main aim of the conference is to take stock of where we stand in defence research in Europe. In particular, we are looking at three main aspects. One, to look into the state of cooperative defence research in Europe and specifically the efforts the Agency is doing to prioritise research in Europe with through the Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA). The second aim is to highlight the role of EDA as the main forum for cooperative defence research at the European level, with an important portfolio of research programmes. And the third, is to look into funding instruments that the European Commission is bringing to the table to promote the competitiveness of the European defence technological industrial base in the research domain.

Teodora Ion: Since 2016 the EU has started to float several flagship initiatives under the EU defence dream: PESCO, CARD, the European Defence Fund (EDF) or the European Defence Industrial Development Program (EDIDP). How are these initiatives linked together and how can we understand better how they work to bring forward the progress and achievements the EU defence has reached so far?

Jorge Domecq: The starting point for improved European defence came with the endorsement of the EU Global Strategy by heads of state and governments in 2016. The different initiatives you mentioned all lead to the same objective: to make the European Union a security provider in a more complex security environment. The different elements  are important. The Capability Development Plan and OSRA, which I mentioned before, set common priorities, they tell us ‘what needs to be done’. The Coordinated Annual Review on Defence looks at the European capability landscape as it stands today and indicates next steps; finally, PESCO, or the Permanent Structured Cooperation, which allows Member States to together plan and implement those cooperative opportunities that were identified by CARD. Finally, the European Defence Fund as a very important financial incentive for European cooperation, including by promoting cooperation across borders of defence industries. That is the objective of these initiatives which now have to be embedded in national defence planning processes.

Teodora Ion: Coming back to the main theme of the Conference in Bucharest – on research and innovation in defence. One of the main purposes of the event will be to address the positive impact of a fusion on research priorities between the national and the European level. How will you tackle this issue?

Jorge Domecq: The first objective now that defence budgets in Europe are growing should be investment. We need to devote an important amount to research and technologies, because we need to provide our armed forces with the capabilities they will need in the future. We have to reverse the decreasing trend in research and technology investment. The second important point of the conference is prioritisation. We need first to set our priorities in the defence research domain and then in a second step, decide which of them can be tackled on the European level and which can be tackled among groups of Member States or at the national level. The Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA) will help us to identify the technologies that will need to be addressed – if possible on the European level, with a European added- value.

Teodora Ion: On the same page, the first research project financed by the European Defence Fund was Pythia, a project that put together seven stakeholders from six EU members, including Romania. The project is underway and aims to deliver a methodology for improving civil and defence technology foresight. What are the main achievements such a cooperation has brought to the EU efforts on research in defence?

Jorge Domecq: The Preparatory Action (PADR) has already demonstrated that it is a catalyst for cooperation among industries and research centers across Europe. It is of clear benefit to European defence. The National Defence University of Romania  has brought its renowned defence expertise to Pythia, which is a big advantage for the project. However, it is still too early to speak about the impact of the project. The final deliverables will be on the table this summer but as far as I’m informed, the project is advancing well and will give us a tool in which we will be able to scout for new technologies that might have an impact for defence research in the future.

Teodora Ion: When referring to the EU Defence many speak about an EU Army, people fighting under the EU flag and so on. But from an innovative stance, we live in a world where artificial intelligence grows indispensably and where non-EU companies drive forward the breakthroughs. Therefore, what does the EU aim with research in Future Disruptive Defence Technologies and what should we do to be a global player?

Jorge Domecq: There is a triple need to address technologies which are called disruptive, but more specifically Artificial Intelligence. In the first case, we need to dramatically increase the level of investment. Just to give you an example: in 2017, the entire research and technologies effort at the European level was of 8.8 billion euros. In Artificial Intelligence only, the United States is investing during the same year, 7.4 billion dollars. So, it is a question of size first and of speed second. We need to really start looking at Artificial Intelligence as well as other domains. What applications will these technologies have in defence? How will they affect defence, what opportunities and what vulnerabilities will they bring to other defence systems. This will affect how we will organise our own forces, and how we organise our work at the European Defence Agency. And the third aspect, which I think is very important: cooperation in defence is indispensable. We cannot think in national categories only, especially if we look at new threats.

Teodora Ion: Romania is one of the founding members of PESCO, participant country to several PESCO projects and also the holding EU Council Presidency. Although we know the EU defence is a CFSP/CSPD matter under the coordination of High Representative Federica Mogherini, how do you appreciate Romania’s impetus on the further development of EU defence?

Jorge Domecq: Romania has a big responsibility this year in taking forward all the different EU defence initiatives. For example, in CARD we have just had a workshop in Bucharest this week to discuss the future methodology we are going to apply for the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence which will start its first full cycle this fall. For PESCO, during this first semester we will have the first report ever of the High Representative on the 20 PESCO commitments on the basis of national implementation plans of the different Member States. The Agency also recently just launched the third call of the Preparatory Action on Defence Research; the finalisation of the European Defence Fund regulations and the launching of the first EDIDP calls are imminent. All that is happening as we talk and the Romanian leadership is going to be paramount. Romania is a very active member of the Agency in several domains. It is involved in EDA research projects and programmes together with other Member States of a value of more than 60 millions euros, and  it has been a pleasure to be able to count on the Presidency to take forward this challenging agenda.

The conference Capability-Driven Defence Research and Innovation Conference will take place on 26 March 2019 at the Palace of the Parliament venue in Bucharest, under the auspices of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The conference is organised by the Armaments Department of the Romanian Ministry of National Defence, in cooperation with the European Defence Agency (EDA), and will welcome representatives from Ministries of Defence, defence research centres, industry and other European institutions.

The European Defence Agency (EDA) is an intergovernmental agency of the Council of the European Union. The Agency falls under the authority of the Council of the EU, to which it reports and from which it receives guidelines. The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union is the Head of the EDA, while the body is also run by a Chief Executive appointed by the member states.

 

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INTERVIEW Manfred Weber launched in Bucharest his bid as head of the next European Commission: ”We have to reconnect Europe, the Brussels level to the citizens”

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©️ Calea Europeană/ Diana Zaim

We have to reconnect Europe, the Brussels level to the citizens, came out from Manfred Weber’s call ahead of the EPP local and regional leaders Summit in Bucharest, were we spoke in an interview for Calea Europeană about the plans that a Weber Commission has for Europe and the program of the National Liberal Party from Romania in the upcoming EU elections.

Speaking before the speech where he presented is vision as EPP lead candidate for the president of the European Commission, Manfred Weber described to Calea Europeană the profile that the next European Commissioners should have in his mandate.

 

Robert Lupițu: Mr. Weber, the current President of the European Commission and the former Spitzenkandidat from EPP did not manage to visit Romania during the EP elections campaign back in 2014. But now you are here in Bucharest for the EPP regional and local leaders. Why is Romania important for you and for your project for Europe?

Manfred Weber: For me there is no Europe of East, West, North, South, small or big, poor or rich countries. There are only Europeans with their concerns, with their emotions and with their hopes for the future of our European way of life. That is why first of all I want to listen. The mayors told me about the problems in their regions, their villages and their cities. To listen is the very most important thing for a European politician and then to act. This is why I am in favour of a strong regional policy. I think we have still to invest a lot, especially in Romania. In infrastructure, in hospitals, to make the life better here in Romania. This is what I want to do, together with the agriculture funds. This is what we need for the future. And again, Europe starts with listening, that’s why politicians have to listen.

Robert Lupițu: PNL list of candidates for the EP elections looks like a solid one – 6 current MEPs, two important mayors and on top of the list there is one of the finest Romanian journalists. Why should the Romanian citizens vote for PNL candidates and not for others?

Manfred Weber: First of all, it is about the concrete program of PNL for the future of Romania inside of Europe. I have to say, the last years under the Socialist government, Romania was more perceived as a country we spoke about the weak engagement in the fight against corruption and other developments that were negative. Romania was not anymore in the first row of the European development and this why I think PNL has a good chance to show that Europe must be the first row. Romania is a strong European country and we want to see a strong Romanian voice on the European level. And the second is about the list. I think it is a good mixture, with professionals that have a lot of experience at a European level, six of them are active current members of the European Parliament and also fresh air: mayors who are very professionals and know what to do from a local point of view and others such as journalists. I think is a good mixture and is good to see that PNL is going up in the polls. We are having a good momentum. Everybody must now: when you vote for PNL you will be part of the largest political family in Europe that makes a lot of impact to the decision-making process.

Robert Lupițu: One final question. You mentioned about your program for Europe. How will the Weber Commission look and what type of profile should the next Romanian Commissioner have for your Commission and for your program for Europe?

Manfred Weber: I don’t wan to propose anything. We need a good mixture in the next European Commission between men and women. I think we have to respect the gender balance in the European Commission and we have to think about the practical impact. Is someone capable to deliver what it has to do? So, the next European Commission must be, first of all, a democratically legitimated Commission and it must be a Commission who is really listening a lot. We are not Brussels bubble, we are not elites in Brussels. We should be close to people and that is why all the Commissioners, I myself as a Commission President, must be close to people. And all the project must be linked to the concerns of the people. That is what I deeply believe. We have to reconnect Europe, the Brussels level to the citizens. 

Manfred Weber has served as Leader of the European People’s Party in the European Parliamentsince 2014. He has been a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany since 2004.

On the 5th September 2018, Weber declared his intention to run for the position of President of the European Commission and was elected as the candidate of the EPP on November 8th.

 

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The National Liberal Party has nominated its candidates for the European elections. The list includes six MEPs, two important mayors and distinguished leaders with the journalist Rares Bogdan on top

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The National Liberal Party is the largest center-right party in Romania and a member of the European People’s Party, has nominated today the list with the candidates for the 23-26 May European elections. The National Liberal Party adopted the list of those who will compete for as many mandates as possible of the 33 mandates which are allocated to Romania. The list has been made under the motto “Romania in the first place” with two days before hosting in Bucharest the Summit of regional and local EPP leaders about the European elections in 2019.

On the list of the Liberals for the European Parliament elections, there are, according to the seats occupied by the internal vote: Rareş Bogdan (TV producer), Mircea Hava (Mayor of Alba Iulia), Siegfried Mureşan (MEP and EPP spokesman), Vasile Blaga (former co-president of the National Liberal Party) AdinaVălean (MEP), Daniel Buda (MEP), Dan Ştefan Motreanu (vice-president of the National Liberal Party), Gheorghe Falcă (Mayor of Arad), Cristian Buşoi (MEP), Marian-Jean Marinescu (MEP and deputy chair of the EPP Group in the European Parliament ), Vlad Nistor (vice-president of the National Liberal Party), Mihai Ţurcanu (MEP) or Violeta Alexandru (former minister).

“The National Liberal Party is the political force, in fact, the only political force that is respected and  appreciated at European level, which has the capacity to influence the decisions at European level in favor of Romania. It is up to every member of the National Liberal Party to be seriously involved in this campaign, to open and have an open ommunication with every citizen of Romania. We have to send  to our message very clearly, that  “Romania in the first place!”, said the leader The National Liberal Party, Ludovic Orban,  in the debates of the Liberals meeting.

After the list of candidates for the European Parliament has been set by BEx, it will be validated by the National Political Bureau of the party, which will be held also on Thursday in Parliament.

A total of 49 liberals entered the race for the European Parliament.

At present, MEPs in the European Parliament are: Daniel Buda, Cristian Buşoi, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Siegfried Mureşan, Traian Ungureanu and Adina Vălean.

Continue reading: EPP Regional and Local Leaders to debate future of Europe with Manfred Weber and Klaus Iohannis on 16 March in Bucharest

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