The meeting of defence ministers from the countries participating in “Bucharest 9 (B9) Initiative” took place over 12th and 14th March. The activity represented an opportunity to harmonize the national positions of the B9 framework member states on the topics on the NATO Summit agenda of July 2018, especially on the strengthening the NATO posture of deterrence and defence, with a priority on the eastern flank, to reach a political decision on this aspect at the Summit.
“We are preparing for the future NATO Summit. Today, the allied forward presence has been consolidated on the entire Eastern Flank of the Alliance, both on in the North-East, the Baltic region and in the South-East, on Romanian territory and in the Black Sea region. We continue focusing on its implementation and – in this context – we are waiting for major decisions to be made in July regarding the allied defence and deterrence posture.” The statement has been made by the Romanian defence minister Mihai Fifor at the B9 Reunion, alongside his allied counterparts representing the participating countries in the “Bucharest 9” Initiative and USA and NATO observers, at the activity held at the Palace of Parliament, today, on March 13th.
At the opening of the sessions, minister Mihai Fifor stated that “it is the moment to maximize the deterrence role of the defence equipment we possess and we appreciate that this aspect must be part of the long-term strategic vision of the North-Atlantic Alliance. This translates to the continuation of the adaptation efforts of NATO’s defence and deterrence posture to the current strategic realities.”
The working sessions of the B9 Defence Ministers Meeting brought to the attention of the delegations topics such as NATO’s Command Structure adaptation, the risks and the threats from the Alliance’s Eastern Neighborhood, strengthening the NATO-EU relationship and ways of consolidating the cooperation among allied states including by ensuring complementation with the other regional formats: European Defense Initiative / EDI Initiative, or the Three Seas Initiative.
The security architecture on the entire Eastern flank and concrete ways of formulating adapted answers within allied framework were evaluated during the first working session. The second session focused on the implementation status of the allied decisions taken at the Warsaw Summit with respect to the forward presence as well as the expectations from the 2018 NATO Summit. Aspects related to the interoperability and mobility of forces on the Eastern flank of the Alliance were approached during the third working session.
The defence ministers and the USA and NATO representatives at the B9 reunion pointed out the need of coherence and unity of the states from the Eastern flank when facing the threats against security and stability in the region. In this respect, minister Fifor highlighted the importance of the overall coherence of the defence and deterrence posture in the wider context of consolidating the Black Sea region profile at allied level. Also, the officials attending the reunion exchanged views on the allied policy regarding Russia, bringing up the allied unity with respect to the relation between NATO and Russia. Also, aspects related to the increase of interoperability of the allied forces in the B9 format with the US ones, the increase of troops’ mobility on the Eastern flank as well as a common approach in the field of consolidating cooperation between NATO and EU were debated upon during the meeting.
During the joint press conference held by the Romanian and Polish defence ministers, both officials restated the fact that this reunion brings “a significant contribution to shaping the vision on the future developments in the field of defence and security, in line with the common efforts made as part of the North-Atlantic Alliance adaptation process.”
The B9 reunion agenda comprised meetings with the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, Liviu Dragnea, and the Chairman of the Romanian Senate, Călin Popescu Tăriceanu. The two chairmen sent a message in support of tackling the security and defence matters on the Eastern flank in the B9 format, with a view of ensuring coherence as well as highlighting the importance of the NATO membership and strategic partnership with the USA.
On the occasion of the B9 reunion, the President of Romania, Klaus Werner Iohannis, had a meeting with the officials attending the meeting, at the Cotroceni Palace. The meeting agenda focused on the preparations for the upcoming NATO Summit from July. In this context, the officials pointed out the need to continue making common efforts in order to ensure the unity of the Eastern allies when facing the threats, the need to project stability in the close neighborhood of NATO, the importance of the US presence on the Eastern flank as a proof of the firm commitment towards the stability of the region as well as the need to develop the trans-Atlantic relation with a view of ensuring security throughout the entire Alliance.
During the working lunch hosted by the Governor of Romania’s National Bank, Mugur Isărescu, the officials from the B9 states and the USA and NATO observers had the opportunity to discuss future ways of developing cooperation within the B9 format in order to ensure unity on the Eastern flank.
During the B9 reunion, minister Mihai Fifor had bilateral talks with his Polish counterpart, Mariusz Blaszczak, to coordinate concrete ways of cooperation between Romania and Poland but also within the Alliance in order to prepare the decisions that are to be taken by the chiefs of states and governments at the July NATO Summit.
Defence Minister’s Meeting with the US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
The Minister of National Defence, Mihai Fifor, had a meeting with Robert Karem, the US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, on Tuesday, March 13th, during the latter’s attendance of the Defence Ministers’ Meeting, B9, in Bucharest.
The officials talked of the excellent level of cooperation on defence, against the background of the Romanian – US Strategic Partnership, both parties reiterating the need to consolidate and enhance it, given the highly unpredictable security environment.
They also discussed the security developments in the extended Black Sea region, as a prerequisite of the sustained efforts to adapt NATO’s deterrence and defence posture along the eastern flank, along sustained contributions to ensure global security, especially related to terrorism. The delegations appreciated that the current framework of bilateral cooperation offers multiple opportunities to implement such goals.
Also, Minister Fifor reiterated that Romania stands by the commitments made in terms of allotting the necessary defence resources and continuing the equipment acquisitions, ongoing and future ones, which makes it a reliable partner in the region.
Along the same lines, they stressed the importance of making the most out of regional formats such as B9, that offer enhanced opportunities for both bilateral consultations and for harmonizing national positions in a multilateral format, thus contributing to the allied process of crystallization of the political decisions in light of NATO Summit of July this year.
Defence Minister’s Meeting with NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning
On Tuesday, March 13th, during the B9 Meeting in defence ministers’ format, Mihai Fifor had a meeting with NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Defence Policy and Planning, Heinrich Brauss.
The two officials discussed current topics listed on NATO’s agenda, with focus on allied defence and deterrence posture, NATO’s Command Structure Reform and stability projection as part of the preparations for the upcoming NATO Summit from Brussels. Heinrich Brauss’ attendance of the B9 Meeting these days alongside the SHAPE Representative, the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe/DSACEUR, Sir James Everard, stands for a solid proof of the North-Atlantic commitment in consolidating the allied Eastern flank.
Defence minister Fifor expressed his appreciation for the support offered in the implementation of the measures related to the forward presence dedicated to the Southern segment of the allied Eastern flank, pointing out the national efforts taken in this respect. The two officials also talked about the adaptation of NATO’s Command Structure, whose organizational chart was approved at the Defence Ministers Meeting, Brussels, over 14-15 February 2018.
Minister Fifor and Heinrich Brauss also had an exchange of views on the expectations from the upcoming NATO Summit from July, a meeting of great symbolic importance, taking into account that it is set to take place in the new headquarters of the Alliance. The Summit will offer the participants the opportunity to evaluate the progress made in the implementation of the decisions adopted during the highest level reunions from Wales (2014), Warsaw (2016) and Brussels (2017) as well as to take several major impact measures regarding NATO’s long-term adaptation, in response to the complex challenges posed to the security environment.
Defence Minister’s Meeting with NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe
During the B9 Meeting in defence ministers’ format, taking place in Bucharest over March 12th to 14th, co-chaired by the Romanian and Polish defence ministers, Mihai Fifor had a meeting with NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Sir James Everard.
The discussions included topics high on the Alliance agenda, with focus on the current efforts to deter and defend, on the reform of NATO Command Structure and on projecting stability, also in view of NATO Summit of July this year in Brussels.
Minister Fifor appreciated the support of the Supreme Allied Command Europe in implementing the measures implied by the Enhanced Forward Presence on the southern segment of the allied eastern flank, highlighting the national efforts in this respect, namely the level achieved by the Multinational Brigade in Craiova and the stage of rendering operational the Consolidated Joint Enhanced Training Initiative/CJET.
As for stability projection, the Romanian minister spoke of our country’s endorsement of NATO efforts, by maintaining the Romanian contribution to Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, stabilizing Iraq by our country’s involvement in the Anti-DAESH Global Coalition. Also, the importance of maintaining the omnidirectional approach in offering allied support to both eastern and southern partners.
“Bucharest 9” Initiative was launched by Romania, in partnership with the Warsaw authorities, in 2014, as a platform for strengthening dialogue and consultations among nine allies: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary.
MoND Press Office