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Friday, 02 September 2022

Prime Minister Nicolae –Ionel Ciucă participated in the Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum

Speech by Prime Minister Nicolae –Ionel Ciucă at the Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum

 

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Nicolae –Ionel Ciucă: Dear lawmakers,

Dear Ministers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear guests,

Allow me to start by saying that I am very glad to see here His Excellency, Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, Sir Stuart Peach, former Chairman of the Military Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and general Ben Hodges, a friend of Romania, whom I congratulate for launching his book in Bucharest, yesterday evening. I am also glad to see the Chief of Defence and some of the generals and officers I worked with, not so long time ago, to the development of a reinforced defence and security concept for our country and for strengthening Romania’s role within the North Atlantic Alliance, the European Union and increasing the role as security pivot in the Black Sea region.

It is a great pleasure for me to be again among friends and I take this opportunity to thank you for inviting me here. I have always appreciated the content of your debates concerning strategic analysis. I congratulate the hosts on organizing this conference.

I want to point out the main lines of positioning, starting points for debate, in the context of unprecedented geopolitical developments in post-war history.

The European and Euro-Atlantic community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled the solidarity of the Euro-Atlantic community and its capacity for resilience.

The themes of peace and war have returned to the European realm. The challenge posed by the Russian Federation's unprecedented military aggression to the international rules-based system forces us to rethink not only our actions but also our resources and vision.

It is inevitable because the future looks more uncertain than we could have imagined just a few years ago.

The multiple, overlapping and interrelated crises we are facing today affect all governments. The way in which the free society forces have coalesced surprised precisely those who counted on weakness and vulnerability.

From the ability to make political decisions in crisis, to the support of the public opinion, what defines this community is the power of mobilization in the service of good. This resilience test is likely to be passed. This is the virtue and strength of the free, democratic world, of the values ​​we share in the Euro-Atlantic space.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year’s decisions at the EU, North –Atlantic Alliance level and within the democratic community illustrate our capacity for cohesion and defence of universal values.

For Romania as a beneficiary and visible contributor to the response and reassurance measures of the Alliance, the US as a strategic partner,  the European Union, and our global partners, the results of our efforts this year inspire optimism.

The geopolitical share and the indispensable strategic character of the Black Sea area are a reality and a requirement that Romania has promoted for many years.

For the first time in its history, NATO declared at the Madrid Summit, that the Black Sea area was an allied strategic interest area, and its security was an integral part of the Euro-Atlantic security.

From a security perspective, we see defence and deterrence capabilities re-strengthened in this region.

More and more allies have established or are in the process of designing national strategies regarding this region, and the EU has calibrated its action on the regional maritime issue. An effort to which Romania contributed significantly. The interest of the allies, of the Europe of values, is to defend the freedom of choice of the states that want to come to us, to reject the revisionist policy of the spheres of influence.

I think, moreover, that part of the surprise of those who tested our will and this freedom consisted in the way the reaction of the European and Euro-Atlantic communities met with the determination of our neighbouring partners.

Romania has demonstrated resilience and solidarity.

Regarding the aggression against Ukraine, carried out so close to our borders, as a state bordering the Black Sea and an EU state with the most extensive border with Ukraine, the principled decisions we took part at the multilateral level, validate the reality of Romania's maturity, the maturity of its institutions, its society and citizens.

The most recent example is the role played in places such as Galati and Constanța, where we consolidated grain supply and export lines.

Romania supported and promoted transatlantic consolidation initiatives and formats such as the Three Seas Initiative, the B9 format, and trilateral cooperation with Poland and Turkey. They fully contributed to strengthening the reaction capacity and resilience and demonstrated the correctness of Romania's strategic pro-active construct. The strategic partnership with the US has determined the design of a new strategy devoted to the Black Sea. It is worth hailing the initiative, strongly endorsed in the US Congress, of consolidating a US strategy at the Black Sea.

The increase of the US strategic investment in supporting the resilience and freedom of choice of the partner states is increasingly more visible. France and the UK, as well as other states, are eloquent examples.

The Black Sea region becomes now a stake higher than ever, not only in the classic, military, and security sense but mostly in a wide, geopolitical perspective. This has implications in multiple areas: security, energy, supply chain safety, infrastructure, interconnectivity, and cyber security. In these areas, the consecration of this region in allied or EU national strategies is justified and reflected most concretely. Maritime security focuses on the freedom of movement and navigation and the freedom of trade, which we must defend also in special circumstances, such as those in times of war.

In the region adjacent to the Black Sea, the Eastern Partnership states, which the Russian aggression has put in front of an existential threat, must be supported even more intensively on their European path. The Eastern Partnership platform must support the advancement of the European integration process.

The European Union can strengthen its political influence, advance projects devoted to the region’s stability and security, projects backing Europe- oriented reforms and which directly and concretely support the living standards and well-being of the citizens of these states.

This type of effort has been illustrated by the action of Romania and other member states in supporting perhaps the most vulnerable of the Eastern partners, the Republic of Moldova - most recently, by establishing the Support Platform for the neighbouring country.

Dear guests,

The decisions of the EU and allies in support of the Eastern partners can foster beneficial competition, a refocusing of efforts on the European integration dimension of the Western Balkans.

The quick and visionary decision of Versailles for Kyiv, Chisinau and Tbilisi reawakened the European capabilities and appetite of the aspiring states in this area. The strategic importance of the enlargement policy is thus reconfirmed.

The current crisis brings together the regions of Romania's geographical and geostrategic belonging, that of the Eastern Neighborhood and that of the Balkans, as part of a European front.

The EU's recent options on the European future of the Western Balkans confirm this assessment.

Romania's support for the European future of the aspiring states was and remains principled and firm.

The Western Balkans is an area of ​​strategic importance where political and security developments have direct implications for the security and prosperity of entire Europe. We have reason to hope that we are witnessing a political revitalization of the area in a European sense.

The crisis in Ukraine can be the premise for the establishment of a geopolitical consolidation front in the sense of Euro-Atlantic values ​​on the southern flank of European Russia. Beyond the issue of enlargement, it can be the EU's catalyst in addressing the two large neighbourhoods: Eastern and Southern.

The common interests reconfirmed by the new threats also determine the need to respond to the new challenges created by the current crises – energy, food security, security of supply chains, stabilization, and migration.

On a strategic level, breaking away from Russian hydrocarbon sources, and reducing the dependence on players attacking our values, is going in the sense already drawn up on a Euro-Atlantic level for the energy transition. In the short and medium term, it determines the diversification of sources, technological advance and economic-investment reorientation in several areas.

Moreover, this type of emergency determines the convergence of positions in terms of energy policies among member states. Energy transformation is one of the essential strategic changes in the current context.

Romania has constantly emphasised the continued development of infrastructure projects, especially the consolidation of interconnections and the diversification of the energy mix, through the development of new production projects, including nuclear and natural gas. We are well positioned for the transition to a development model based on sustainable energy consumption, and the joint energy and technological projects with the US strategic partner have once again proven to be a beneficial vision for Romania.

The effort and message of the Euro-Atlantic community of firm support for respect for international law, values and democratic principles and rejection of revisionism, spheres of influence and power politics become at least as important.

In a global context of competition between democracies and autocracies and in the geopolitical reality imposed by the Russian provocation in Ukraine, informational resilience is essential for transatlantic cohesion.

The aggression in Ukraine was also accompanied by exacerbated propaganda, and Russia is not the only actor with such attitudes.

Romania is deeply anchored in a Euro-Atlantic system of security and solidarity, which has proved to be unshakable until now, being engaged in joint efforts to increase national, social, and media resilience. It becomes essential to transmit these interests, values and concerns, together with the Euro-Atlantic partners and allies and partners with shared interests worldwide. This is the foundation of the resettlement of the global world, which will maintain the values and the free and democratic way of life with which our generation lived, which we want our children to enjoy as well.

I wish you fruitful debates further on and as many such conferences. Good luck!

 



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