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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, o inițiativă World Economic Forum, și este Young Strategic Leader în cadrul inițiativelor The Aspen Institute. Din 2019, Robert este parte a programului #TT27 Leadership Academy organizat de European Political Strategy Center, think tank-ul Comisiei Europene.

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INTERVIEW Ambassador Tacan Ildem, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy: Fake news challenges our resilience. Through communication, NATO is more agile

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© Tacan Ildem/ Twitter

NATO’s centre of gravity and its essential strength is the commitment of its members to stand up for each other. Article 5 in this respect is the core of the North Atlantic Treaty, says Ambassador Tacan Ildem, Assistant of NATO’s Secretary General for Public Diplomacy.

In an interview for CaleaEuropeană.ro, on the sidelines of Bucharest Forum, Ambassador Ildem praised Romania’s efforts to contribute to NATO’s communication and branding campaign, underlining that our country holds a key role on explaining the Alliance’s policy towards the Black Sea and the Western Balkans, while enjoyind a “recognized excellence” in new technologies, both an opportunity and challenge to the nature of warfare.

Ambassador Ildem also referred to NATO’s efforts in countering fake news, drawing attention to the idea that “fake news challenge enduring public support for NATO policies.

“It challenges our resilience as societies. This is why NATO aim to counter this phenomenon calmly but firmly”, said NATO’s high-ranking official.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Seventy years of NATO and especially thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall seem like far moments in history for an ordinary citizen. How do you explain to the general public the need of having the collective defense umbrella provided by NATO?

Ambassador Ildem: Thirty years ago, the Cold War ended, and with it the separation of Europe. In the last three decades, challenges have been different and yet the commitment of Allies to stand as one has endured. Better yet, new Allies have joined, including Romania, and this is illustrative of the benefits provided by membership in NATO. I believe the ordinary citizen understand well that our societies are confronted to many security challenges, both traditional ones, like Russia’s new assertive foreign policy, and less traditional ones, like cyber threats or terrorism. NATO does not replace national efforts towards defense, but it brings them together so that together, the Alliance is greater and stronger than the sum of its parts.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: After the end of Cold War NATO enlarged as a promise for newly born democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. Since 2014, the Alliance faces multiple threats including at its Eastern borders, but some are non-military and use disruptive technologies. What can NATO do more to help new allies, including Romania, to build more resilient societies in dealing with disinformation activities?

Ambassador Ildem: Disinformation is a concern for everyone, because unlike misinformation, which is unintended, disinformation is an attempt to sow error and wrong appreciations of reality intentionally. Resilience is a frame of mind, irrespective of when one joined NATO! It requires that every member of society do its part. At NATO, we consider that resilience includes pro-active communication, to inform the public and the media; reactive communication to correct what we consider partial, incomplete or tendentious reports in the information environment; and frequent face to face meetings with opinion leaders, because direct meetings develop trust, a key component of resilience. But citizens also have a role to play in countering disinformation activities, by diversifying their sources of information and by being mindful of possible political biases. NATO’s public diplomacy is contributing to this effort. 

CaleaEuropeană.ro: NATO’s ongoing process to adapt to a challenging security environment, especially on the hybrid and disinformation challenges, has found a name two years ago: “#WeAreNATO”. What is the story behind this branded communications campaign and why has it surfaced? 

Ambassador Ildem: NATO has always sought to adapt. Even before the 2014 illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, public diplomacy was evolving rapidly taking into account the rise of social media and its impact on audiences but also on the tools communicators use. NATO considered these new developments and decided to adapt and adopt new modalities. The method evolves, but the ultimate objective remains unchanged: to reach out to diverse public in our nations. With campaigns, we are more agile, better able to measure the impact of our work, and therefore hopefully more successful as well.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Romania is one of the pioneers of the #WeAreNATO campaign while the public support for our NATO membership raises more than 50% of the population, and these are positive facts. Even so, how can Romania, as an Eastern border of Western world, actively engage to better promote and explain NATO’s profile and measures for deterrence and defense? 

Ambassador Ildem: I am very happy that Romania has contributed so much to our campaign effort to explain NATO policies to home audiences. As your readers may not know, we have three priority publics, of which the first is the successor generation, the future leaders of Romania. We are also reaching out to women specifically. Finally, we seek to ensure that people without higher education have an understanding of Romania’s Alliance contributions. Looking forward, Romania has a role in explaining NATO’s approach to the Black Sea and Western Balkans, but also in explaining the determination of Allies to innovate in the face of disruptive new technologies – technologies that present opportunities, but that will also change the nature of warfare. I think here specifically of big data, artificial intelligence and other disruptive technologies, areas in which Romania enjoys recognized excellence.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: NATO has always been referred to as a collective defense organization guided by the principle engraved under Article 5. To what extent fake news phenomenon is a threat for NATO’s security and ability to defend its members? In this, what would be the role of public diplomacy within the Alliance in countering hybrid warfare?

Ambassador Ildem: Fake news is a complex phenomenon involving both would-be state competitors as well as non-state organizations. Its destructive intent is compounded by the new potential of social media platforms. NATO takes this reality very seriously. We chose to oppose fake news with facts, and do so through proactive press relations, social media engagements, as well as through a dynamic program of public diplomacy activities aimed at different audiences. While it does not directly affect NATO’s ability to defend itself militarily, fake news do contribute to muddying the waters and to confusing publics. Therefore fake news challenge enduring public support for NATO policies. It challenges our resilience as societies. This is why NATO aim to counter this phenomenon calmly but firmly.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Although our transatlantic cooperation is weakened by geopolitical disruptions and the return of great power politics, NATO is almost unanimously self-considered the most successful military alliance. How are cohesion and “allied strong” approach playing up their role in keeping the West united at a time when we should celebrate three decades since the values on which NATO was founded began to find their ground in Central and Eastern Europe? 

Ambassador Ildem: NATO’s centre of gravity, its essential strength, is the commitment of its members to stand up for each other. Article 5 in this respect is the core of the North Atlantic Treaty. Cohesion among Allies is the Secretary General’s priority at all times, and that of his collaborators. This is why it is important to attend seminars such as the Bucharest Security Forum, which helps to develop a common view of challenges and threats.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: In a few weeks, NATO leaders will gather in London to mark 70 years of the North-Atlantic family. At the same time, many allies celebrate ten, fifteen or twenty years since joining the Euro-Atlantic community. What does the future hold for NATO?

Ambassador Ildem: Citizens and experts alike recognize NATO’s historical capacity to adapt. This is why it has celebrated this year its 70th anniversary. In looking to the future, NATO is again taking the steps to adapt to a changed security environment. It has taken steps to reinforce its defence and deterrence in the biggest effort in a generation, following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. It is busy developing responses to hybrid and cyber challenges and to instability in the South. It seeks to enhance the resilience of its operations, and helps Allies do the same. It works with partners to strengthen their defense establishments. NATO is fully committed to remaining fit for purpose as challenges to security continue to evolve.


Ambassador Tacan Ildem was appointed Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy in March 2016. He advises the Secretary General on public diplomacy issues and directs the Public Diplomacy Division (PDD), which plays a key role in conveying the Alliance’s strategic and political messages to opinion formers and to the public in general. PDD works to raise the Alliance’s profile with audiences world-wide and to build support for Alliance operations and policies.

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INCSMPS organises the ”GLOBE Competence Framework -New Skills for Green Jobs” European Conference (LIVE, September 26th, 10:00)

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© Conferința Globe (www.competenteverzi.ro)

The National Scientific Research Institute for Labour and Social Protection (INCSMPS) is organising the European Conference ”GLOBE Competence Framework – New Skills for Green Jobs. Game Based Training To Develop Transversal Green Skills in Apprenticeship Programmes”.

The event will take place on Thursday, September 26th, at the Marshal Garden Hotel in Bucharest, and will be live streamed on CaleaEuropeană.ro and on Calea Europeană’s Facebook Page, starting at 10:00.

VIDEO I

VIDEO II

 

”GLOBE Competence Framework – New Skills for Green Jobs. Game Based Training To Develop Transversal Green Skills in Apprenticeship Programmes” is financed through an Erasmus + project.

The objectives of GLOBE project are: answer to shortage of skills and competences in green economy; contributing to update the national competence and skills framework, including new competences for green economy and up-dating traditional professional profiles ac-cording to the new requirements; improve the training delivery mechanism, through the development and use of innovative learning and training resources (game based learning); dealing with the dual challenge of green economy, making economic growth compatible with climate stabilisation and sustainable environment footprint through the development of green skills and competences in apprentice; contributing to develop the social dimension of green economy, promoting training and adapting labour.

As for INCSMPS, since it was established, in 1990, the institute has performed scientific research activities in the field of labour market and social protection, thus supporting Romania’s efforts to create and develop a sustainable economy, based on modern, European principles. The scientific research in the institute is related to the labour market and social policy, for the creation of measurement instruments, indices and criteria.

INCSMPS has as main object of activity the research and development in the field of social and humanist sciences, carry out surveys and research with theoretical-applicative character in fields of national interest regarding the human resources management, social development and social protection in Romania.

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Foreign Affairs Minister Ramona Mănescu: The Strategic Partnership with the US is the central focus of the Romanian diplomacy, while the accession to Schengen remains a priority

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Foreign Affairs Minister Ramona Mănescu said on Thursday that Romania’s accession to Schengen remains a priority of the Romanian diplomacy.

“Evoking the period when I was MEP, I can certainly tell you that (…) all the time both [the European] Parliament and the Commission said Romania was prepared to join Schengen, from a technical and logistical point of view. (…) Practically, we function de facto as a Schengen member state, but de jure we are not regarded as such. Romania doesn’t ask anything but the observance of the Treaty, we are members with full rights, we met our commitments and we seriously continue to meet them, no one can challenge Romania’s contribution to the security space, because we are not talking only about the eastern flank of NATO, we are also talking about EU’s eastern flank,” Ramona Mănescu told Antena 3 private television broadcaster on Thursday, quoted by Agerpres.

She maintained that the Romanian citizens “have all the right to get this well-deserved position of Schengen member state.”

“This is not something we must beg for, or be made a favour. It is provided in the Treaty and it must be observed. (…) I assure you we keep this on the agenda as priority topic, and all bilateral and extended discussions will include the Schengen accession component, we won’t stop from telling our colleagues in the EU that the Romanian citizens have the same rights,” Mănescu underscored, mentioning that, at present, in the Council half of the states support Romania’s accession to the free movement area, and the others oppose.

The Foreign Minister also pointed out that the Strategic Partnership with the US must remain the central focus of the Romanian diplomacy.

She also showed that Romania has the same position towards Russia as NATO and the EU.

“Romania’s position towards Russia starts in the first place from the vicinity we are in, but it is also part of the EU’s position regarding Russia, as we are part of the EU, we must get in line with EU’s stand. I am referring to sanctions, to certain limitations that we have in the dialogue and cooperation with Russia and I am particularly referring to the firm position we have as EU member, which we have always had, of observing the international legislative framework. We don’t ask too much from Russia as an actor on the geopolitical stage if we ask them to respect the international legislative framework. (…) It is the principle which we start from and which we cannot fail to keep not even for Russia, which is here, close to us. We have no reason to make an exception, because nothing is negotiable in this story,” Ramona Mănescu said.

According to the Minister, the relation with Russia represents “a key point in the stability in the area, in securing NATO’s eastern flank, in the manner in which we can further manage the discussions in the Black Sea. “The threats and gestures which Russia has repeatedly done in the Black Sea space, from a military stand, have been sanctioned all the time. (…) Both NATO and the EU have the same discourse. Romania cannot have a different discourse, because it is both part of the EU and NATO, and we are at the Black Sea,” she added.

Mănescu also said that she expected “the energy diplomacy to have its word,” in regards to the resources in the Black Sea.

“Our desire is for a partner such as Exxon to stay here and continue to work together as much and as well as possible. This entails our making some steps in an expected direction. I believe things will settle in the end, enter the right track and I even want to clarify this position shortly and the US partners must be convinced that we’ll be keeping the same line. (…) Mrs PM wants this as well,” Mănescu said.

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