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.
AmCham: Romania’s capital market upgrade to emerging market status sends a positive signal to investors
AmCham Romania joins private partners and the authorities in welcoming Romania’s upgrade to secondary market status by FTSE Russell, the world leader in stock market indexes classification. This marks the achievement of a shared strategic goal pursued with dedication by the private stakeholders and regulatory authorities alike.
“AmCham Romania primarily focuses on supporting initiatives that contribute to increasing the investment flows in Romania, such as the upgrade of the capital market. The promotion by FTSE Russell sends a positive signal towards the investors’ community, but is also an encouragement for all parties involved so far in making this goal a reality to continue their collaboration, which remains as necessary after this long-awaited moment. The upgrade to emerging market opens Romania’s access to significantly higher investment flows and allows us to play in a higher league. This comes in a context of global economic turmoil, which can only send a positive signal to current and potential investors and is expected to have a multiplier effect on the economy” said Ionuț Simion, AmCham Romania President.
Romania’s qualification for secondary emerging market status, after a three-year monitoring period, announced in September 2019 and applicable from September 2020, confirms the removal of barriers and improvements in the quality of trading infrastructure and of the regulatory framework.
“I would like to reiterate that the success we welcome today proves that through partnership and cooperation we can achieve positive results for the economy at large. At the same time, it holds all of us responsible to remain committed towards the immediate objectives for the Romanian capital market, such as upgrade to emerging market status by MSCI. Midterm, in AmCham’s vision, the development of the capital market should focus on meeting the next level of performance needed to qualify as primary emerging market, and eventually, the upgrade to developed market status. In this regard, we will strongly support the need for state-owned enterprises to be listed, which in addition to the benefits of attracting capital inflows, will create the framework for consolidating their corporate governance. The development of the capital market will also need measures to incentivize the listing of private companies, as a means to diversify their financing sources, which requires both vision and a favorable, stable legislative and fiscal framework, for which we rely on the involvement of the responsible authorities”, pointed Cristian Agalopol, Chair of the AmCham Romania Capital Markets and Financial Services Committee.
FTSE Russel performs an annual review of the countries’ classification in the four categories – developed markets, advanced emerging, secondary emerging and frontier, by analyzing 21 criteria that are related to the regulative framework, custody and settlement, dealing landscape, derivatives.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AmCham Romania) is for over 25 years a leading representative of the business community in Romania, and is acknowledged as a promoter of the private-public dialogue on matters related to the business climate, public policies that impact Romania’s economy and competitiveness or the economic ties between Romania and the U.S.
Currently, AmCham Romania’s over 450 members – U.S., international and Romanian companies allow AmCham to engage in promoting the business priorities for many industries, through dedicated working groups, such as: Capital Markets & Financial Services, Corporate Governance, Competition and State-Aid, Education, Energy, Environment, Health, Digital Economy, Labor, Structural Funds, Public Procurement and PPP, Real Estate, Taxation and Tourism.
AmCham Romania’s connection with the international business is granted by its accreditation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its affiliation to AmChams in Europe. In Romania, AmCham enjoys a great institutional collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest and is a member and contributor to Coaliţia pentru Dezvoltarea României, the informal consultation platform supported by business associations that share the same objectives.
Presidents of Romania, Lithuania and Poland: We state our will to support the people of Belarus in building a democratic path
The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, the President of Lithuania, Gitanas Nauseda, and the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, state their will, in a joint statement, to support the people of Belarus in building a democratic path and appeal to the international community to join the EU and its member states in the demarche of preparing a positive agenda for Belarus, together with a package of support for the political, economic and social transition of the country.
“We, the Presidents of Lithuania, Poland and Romania, as member states of the European Union: supporting firmly liberty and the promotion of democratic principles, emphasizing that free, fair and transparent elections are a fundamental democratic right of any nation, admitting as legitimate the results of the elections only if they are organized in agreement with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and are monitored internationally, explicitly admitting that no one but the people of Belarus has the right to decide the destiny of their country, reassuring on our respect for such a decision made on legitimate bases, understanding that a prosperous Belarus, built on social trust and a common vision, is essential for a more stable and safer Europe, we declare our will to support the people of Belarus in building a democratic path, through a state leadership which is democratically elected, a free civil society, free market and the rule of law,” shows the statement of the three heads of states.
We, Presidents of Lithuania, Poland, Romania, declare the will to stand together with the People of Belarus in building a democratic path, via democratically elected state leadership, a free civil society, market economy, the rule of law. Joint statement: https://t.co/Zud5gNZ9C9.
— Klaus Iohannis (@KlausIohannis) September 21, 2020
The joint statement titled “Proposal for a democratic Belarus” is available here.
The three heads of state show that they offer expertise and know-how for the path of political and economic reforms, to build independent institutions and to ensure an environment where respect for human rights and freedom of expression are an unshakeable fundamental norm of society.
They believe that, in the demarche to support the people of Belarus, it’s useful for the European Union – as a major global economic power – propose a package of assistance for the economic transformation of a democratic Belarus which should include, inter alia: the facilitation of commerce with the European Union and assistance for accession negotiations with the World Trade Organization; a liberalized visa regime, when the necessary conditions are met; assistance to diversify the energy sector and for the energy security of Belarus; access to financial resources to restructure and relaunch the liberal economy of Belarus; increased presence and activity of the international financial institutions to reform the economy of Belarus and to increase investment.
“We address an appeal to the international community to join the European Union and its member states in the demarche of preparing a positive agenda for Belarus, together with a package of support for the political, economic and social transition of the country”, the three presidents concluded.
MEP Vasile Blaga: EU must create solid programs in order to rebuild the labor market
MEP Vasile Blaga, a member of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, stresses that the European Union must create solid programs for consolidating and rebuilding the labor market after the COVID-19 period.
“Economic data for the second quarter of 2020 show a worrying decline in the labor market across the European Union. In Romania, the number of closed employment contracts has increased alarmingly – we are approaching one million closed employment contracts, and the number of closed contracts on 15 July is double compared to 1st June 2020. The most affected sectors are manufacturing and it is possible that in the next period we will see a massive increase in contracts in the hospital industry, still affected by the restrictions generated by the pandemic “, said the MEP for Calea Europeană media platform.
According to the Liberal MEP, protecting jobs must be the number one priority for the European Union.
“It is clear that the European Union must be massively concerned with protecting existing jobs and financially stimulating the creation of new ones ”, he added.
Private sector employment must also be a priority for the European Commission: “Direct funding through various forms of private sector employment must be a priority for the Commission in the next period, complemented by the stimulation of sectors severely affected by pandemic – the hospitality industry and the arts and entertainment sector are a priority in this regard “, said the EPP MEP Vasile Blaga.
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