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EXCLUSIVE Ian Brzezinski, Senior Fellow Atlantic Council: With a Trump or Biden administration, US military presence in Romania will increase

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© Atlantic Council

Conducted by Dan Cărbunaru and Robert Lupițu

The trajectory of the US – Romania relations it’s becoming very “operational” and, as an ally that has lived up to the expectations and its robust commitments, Romania will have important opportunities with both a Trump or a Biden administration in the White House and we will see a continuity in troops deployment in the region, US national security and foreign policy expert Ian Brzezinski with the Atlantic Council told CaleaEuropeană.ro in an exclusive interview.

Speaking from Washington ahead of the second and last presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden before the elections, Ian Brzezinski described how US’s foreign policy and commitment to the transatlantic link will develop under a second Trump administration or a Biden administration.

This is an important election. And there are two very very different worldviews that are colliding together, that are reflected by President Trump and Vice President Biden. (…) The good news is that Romania has been caring and share 2% of GDP (on defence) and its robust commitments to international operations, including those led by NATO, gives the current president or the next president real license to pursue an internationalist agenda“, Brzezinski said.

A former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO Policy in 2001–2005 when Romania joined the North Atlantic Alliance, Brzezinski praised Romania’s commitment and laid out some advices on how to seize opportunities with a Trump or Biden administration, especially in the context that Romania and the United States will celebrate in 2021 the 10th anniversary of the Joint Declaration for the Strategic Partnership signed in the White House by former Presidents Obama and Băsescu.

If Biden wins, I think when it comes down to the security relationship we will see continuity in terms of force deployments. So, we’re all very aware about the increases that President Trump made to our force posture in North Central Europe. I think those will be sustained and possibly, under Biden administration, augmented. There has been a growing momentum towards increasing our force presence in Romania, perhaps not as dramatically as we’ve seen in Poland, but I think in ways that are operationally and geopolitically significant. I think that momentum would carry into a Biden administration. I certainly hope it will. It will be significantly shaped by how, you know, Romania encouraged and facilitates that kind of cooperation and the role that it plays in NATO”, Brzezinski explained.

He also added that a Biden administration will bring to Europe an agenda that “will actually ask Europe to be doing more within Europe”.

“That will be a burden that will fall heavily on our west European allies and it’ll be a burden that will fall heavily on our central European allies, including Romania”, Brzezinski mentioned.

As for a second Trump administration, Brzezinski explained the opportunities coming out of the transition in power.

A transition from a first Trump administration to the second Trump administration creates opportunity because new faces will come in, plans will be reevaluated and recalibrated, and it creates opportunity to kind of enhance one’s relationship“, he said.

The US national security expert extended his argument, mentioning that “when there’s a transition between two different administrations, a Trump to a Biden administration”, then “the opportunities are even greater”. In this context, he suggested that Romania should take the initiative and leverage its demonstrated commitments.

The way to this kind of leverage and opportunity is through initiative. And here’s where I would go in the security realm, you leverage your new capabilities. For example, the Patriot air defense systems, the HIMARS missiles, not just to enhance Romania security, but the region security”, Brzezinski added.

While pointing out a special interest that a Biden administration will have for Ukraine, the US expert said: “What can Romania do to upgrade its security relationship with Ukraine, that is something that would be noticed by the new team, and something that would probably bring good benefits to the US Romania relationship“.

Furthermore, Ian Brzezinski spoke about US-Romania special partnership based on his experience as an US official in the area of NATO’s enlargement and operations when Romania became a full member of the Alliance.

“Romania has lived up to the expectations and in United States we know that we have a member state spending two point or 2% of its GDP on defense. It’s thinking constructively and actively acting proactively in the Black Sea region on its forces have deployed on allied multilateral including US led missions around the world.  The experience I had with Romanian forces in Afghanistan was really really a profound one for me, because they were in areas of real risk, and the courage of those soldiers is something I will not forget, I would say”, stated Brzezinski.

He emphasized the recent visits in Washington by Romania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Defense and Minister of Economy, underlining that “those meetings underscored the growth of the US – Romanian economic relationship, the deepening of the US – Romanian military relationship and increased role that US-Romanian relationship is playing in regional cooperations, for example, through the Three Seas Initiative in Central and Eastern Europe”.

The track the trajectory of US Romanian relations has been very very positive. It’s becoming, it’s not just rhetorical and symbolic, it’s actually very operational“, he also said.

Given that Romania and the new US administration, led either by Donald Trump or Joe Biden, will celebrate next year the tenth anniversary of the Joint Statement of the Strategic Partnership, Ian Brzezinski named a few opportunities for 2021: the gas and energy opportunities in the Black Sea, the increase of US military presence in Romania and in the region to deter Russia’s provocative actions, US investments in the Three Seas Initiative Fund co-sponsored by Romania and Poland and technological cooperation under the 5G Memorandum of Understanding.

“The 10 year anniversary provides an opportunity to kind of add additional energy and vigour into the strategic partnership that we have”, he also said.

Ian Brzezinski (born December 23, 1963) is an American foreign policy and military affairs expert. He is a Resident Senior Fellow, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, The Atlantic Council, United States of America. He is also Senior Fellow in the International Security Program and is on the Council’s Strategic Advisors Group (SAG). He brings to the Council and its International Security Program over two decades of experience in U.S. national security matters having served in senior policy positions in the Department of Defense and the U.S. Congress.

Mr. Brzezinski served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO Policy in 2001–2005, under President George W. Bush. His responsibilities included NATO expansion, Alliance force planning and transformation and NATO operations in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, Afghanistan and Iraq. Key highlights of his tenure include the expansion of NATO membership in 2004, the consolidation and reconfiguration of the Alliance’s command structure, the standing up of the NATO Response Force and the coordination of European military contributions to U.S. and NATO-led operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans.

Among several honors awarded for his public service, Mr. Brzezinski has received the Romanian Medal for National Service, Order of Commander.

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 membru al programului #TT27 Leadership Academy organizat de European Political Strategy Center, think tank-ul Comisiei Europene.

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MEP Vasile Blaga: Commission’s centralised approach on procuring COVID-19 vaccines shows us the advantage of Romania’s membership of the European Union

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©Vasile Blaga/ Facebook

Commission’s centralised approach on procuring COVID-19 vaccines shows us the advantage of Romania’s membership of the European Union, said MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) in a statement for CaleaEuropeană.ro.

He emphasized tha membership of the European Union ”helps us to return to a normal life as soon as possible, through vaccination, but also to overcome the COVID-19 crisis”.

”I cannot help noticing that regarding the COVID-19 crisis, European Union has address the needs of the Member States. I am talking about UE’s centralised approach on procuring COVID-19 vaccines, not only about EU’s budget and COVID-19 recovery package. European Commission approved a contract with pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer, which provides for the purchase of 300 million doses on behalf of all EU Member States and, last week, Ursula von der Leyen announced that European Commission approved a sixth contract under the EU Vaccines Strategy, this time with the pharmaceutical company Moderna, which provides for the purchase of 160 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. It is a clear signal that the European Union is determined to firmly manage the COVID-19 pandemic, unitary and determined”, explained the MEP Vasile Blaga.

The European Commission approved on November 25 a sixth contract under the EU Vaccines Strategy, this time with the pharmaceutical company Moderna, the Commission said in a statement.

The contract provides for the initial purchase of 80 million doses on behalf of all EU member states, plus an option to request up to a further 80 million doses, to be supplied once a vaccine has proven to be safe and effective against Covid-19.

The contract with Moderna will enlarge the already broad portfolio of vaccines to be produced in Europe, including the contracts signed with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, BioNTech-Pfizer and the contract approved with CureVac.

This diversified vaccines portfolio will ensure Europe is well prepared for vaccination, once the vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective.

Romania’s finance minister Florin Citu said on November 25 that the ministry has made a 12 million euro ($14.27 million) advance payment to the European Commission for COVID-19 vaccines.

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S&D Group and MEP Victor Negrescu host an international conference on the future EU budget and the European Recovery Plan (LIVE, 19th November, 11:00)

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The Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament is organizing on Thursday, at the initiative of MEP Victor Negrescu (PSD, S&D), an international conference on the future European budget and on the economic recovery plan.

The conference, which will start at 11:00 (Bucharest time) and will be broadcast LIVE on CaleaEuropeană.ro, is an invitation to dialogue on how European funds should be used at European and national level.

At the conference organized with the support of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats on the future EU Budget and the European recovery plan, the European Commissioner for Budgets, Johannes Hahn, will address a video message. Also, among the participants will be Margarida Marques, MEP and rapporteur of the S&D Group for the future multi-annual budget, Dan Nica, leader of the Romanian Delegation to the S&D Group, Radu Magdin, study coordinator, Roxana Mînzatu, member of the Romanian Parliament, European funds expert and former Minister of European Funds, and Adrian Câciu, economic analyst.

In order to set out these objectives, the S&D MEP Victor Negrescu initiated a complete and complex study on the impact of the European relaunch plan on Romania and the identification of development objectives that the progressive group in the European Parliament will support at the level of the European institution.

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MEP Vasile Blaga: Maia Sandu will consolidate a sustainable democracy in the Republic of Moldova

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© Vasile Blaga/Facebook

MEP Vasile Blaga (PNL, EPP) congratulates Maia Sandu for the victory obtained in the presidential elections and sends her the support of the MEPs for bringing the Republic of Moldova closer to the European Union.

“I congratulate Maia Sandu for the categorical victory obtained in yesterday’s presidential elections. I want to assure her of my support and my colleagues in the European Parliament for the future steps towards rapprochement with the European Union. I believe in Maia Sandu and I believe that her election to lead the Republic of Moldova is the premise for consolidating a sustainable democracy in the Republic of Moldova. Congratulations Maia Sandu! Congratulations to the Republic of Moldova “, said MEP Vasile Blaga.

The MEP Vasile Blaga, as Minister of Internal Affairs, cut the barbed wire at the border between the Republic of Moldova and Romania, together with the Prime Minister Vlad Filat, 10 years ago: “It is 10 years since, as Minister of the Internal Affairs, I cut the barbed wire at the border between the Republic of Moldova and Romania, together with the then Prime Minister Vlad Filat. 10 years after that symbolic gesture, the Republic of Moldova says clearly: we want to change, our perspective is focused on the west, on Romania, on the European Union. Congratulations to the Republic of Moldova “, Vasile Blaga also transmitted.

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