Career diplomats, military and analysts, as well as experts from the various fields of activity (energy, biotech, IT) discussed in Bucharest topics related to national and regional security at the seventh Bucharest Forum, organized by the Institute Aspen. Romania In a most complicated context, transatlantic relations, energy and environmental security, together with military mobility, were recurrent topics in all the speeches.
General , head of the Romanian Armed Forces General Staff, has explicitly included energy among the essential elements of the European security. Taking into account Romania’s position in Eastern Europe and the fact that it has access to the Black Sea, national security strategies need to strengthen stability relations, create multilateral ties, and encourage responsible behavior in relations with other states.
Defense Minister said that “the stability of the Black Sea region and national security are part of a strategic partnership with the US that helps both Europe and the US.” There will be a complicated year with cooperation projects that need to be finalized, the minister added. In the context of the priorities set at European level, Fifor noted that there are very high expectations from Romania, on the one hand, as a partner and security provider in the Western Balkans, and also, for strengthening transatlantic relations by developing European defense policy in close connection with NATO.
, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, referred to the opportunity for Romania to assure the presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 January 2019. “Romania’s security is based on its contribution and strengthening of the national defense, in the regional cooperation structure, Romania firmly endorsing the idea of the importance of NATO and the EU, but also of the UN”, stressed Melescanu. In his opinion, Romania’s concerns should take into account contributions, conciliation and cooperation. For his part, Mihai Fifor also mentioned three other key concepts:
1. cash (Romania’s commitment to allocate 2% of GDP for defense)
2. contribution (the 700 Romanian soldiers in Afghanistan with the prospect of their number to be raised to 900 in the near future)
3. capabilities (programs undertaken and run until now)
Bucharest Forum is an annual event organized by Aspen Institute Romania and the Bucharest office of the German Marshall Fund (USA), with the mission to create a regional platform for forward thinking on economic and security policies and for promoting political dialogue between governments and the civil society.