Iohannis: In 2020, MApN will need to focus on consolidating strategic profile in NATO and EU

President Klaus Iohannis stated, on Tuesday, that in 2020 the Ministry of National Defence (MApN) will have to focus on consolidating the strategic profile of Romania in NATO and the EU, accelerating the process of developing the operational capacity of the Army, as well as initiating and running endowment programs. "This year, the Ministry of National Defence will have to focus its efforts on reaching some concrete objectives: consolidating the strategic profile within NATO and the EU, accelerating the process of developing the operational capacity of the Army, as well as initiating and running endowment programs, in view of ensuring new capabilities necessary to the structure of forces. All these against the backdrop of the continuing participation with military troops in the theaters of operations outside the national territory of Romania," said the head of state, at the presentation of the MApN's 2019 activity stocktaking. President Klaus Iohannis brought to mind that following the political agreement made in 2015, Romania has been allocating 2 pct of the GDP for Defence. "The increase in budgetary allocations calls for more attention to the way this money is spent, the way in which the strategic endowment programs for the army are launched, in agreement with the real priorities of the Defence and the way in which the Ministry of Defence runs the contracts and follows through the deadlines. This financing must also ensure better training for all army structures, an updating of planned exercises to the realities of contemporary conflicts and adequate involvement of our allies and partners in these exercises, taking place in a joint, complex and dynamic environment. Furthermore, using the sums allotted to Defence, it's necessary to ensure and improve working and living conditions for servicemen, because they represent the most treasured resource of the Romanian Army; as well as ours, all those who bear the responsibility of the country's defence," said Iohannis. The head of state reiterated that membership in NATO and the European Union, as well as the Strategic Partnership with the US remain the conceptual strategic triad of Romania's foreign and security policy. "In a period fraught with risks, challenges and threats, dynamic or latent, the need of a strong North Atlantic Alliance, united and efficient, is greater than ever. NATO represents a successful military alliance and we will continue to act coherently and in convergence, together with the other member states, so that it becomes stronger," Iohannis emphasized. He congratulated the servicemen for the high level of professionalism and for the competence with which they fulfilled their missions in 2019 as well. "The Army represents more than an institution fundamental for the functioning of the Romanian state. You, the men and women in uniform, are an elite corps that has won the respect and trust of Romanians due to the devotion and patriotism you show in putting yourself in the service of our country. (...) The activity stocktaking of the Ministry of National Defence for last year speaks for itself regarding the abnegation with which you do your duty in the country, or in theaters of operations in Afghanistan, the Western Balkans or Mali," mentioned Iohannis. The head of state showed that the Romanian Army has a major contribution to fulfilling the responsibilities assumed within NATO and implementing the Common Security and Defence Policy of the European Union. "The activity of the NATO structures on the national territory, and I'm referring to the NATO Force Integration Units, to the Multinational Division Headquarters and the Multinational Brigade South-East in Craiova, confirm the level of competence of our servicemen and the trust Romania enjoys in front of its allies. The Romanian servicemen also bring a major contribution in the operations and missions conducted under the aegis of NATO and the EU, especially the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, as well as the NATO KFOR and EU ALTHEA operations in the theater of operations in the Balkans and in the NATO mission in Iraq. Furthermore, very important is also the continuation of Romanian participation in NATO Battle Group Poland, which materializes the enhanced forward presence. For the sacrifices made in fulfilling all of these missions, the Romanian servicemen deserve our gratitude," Iohannis added. AGERPRES (RO - author: Florentina Peia, editor: Georgiana Tanasescu; EN - author: Razvan-Adrian Pandea, editor: Simona Iacob)

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