A public lecture by
Dr. Bogdan Aurescu
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania
The Polish Institute of International Affaires, Warsaw,29 April 2015
(not authorized fragments)
Our countries have geostrategical relevance, have certain demographic weights, geographic size, economical potential as well as the consistency of our valuation. Both our countries have reputation of their consistent engagement and solid contribution to the consolidation of the united and coherent EU, able to act effectively. Confirmation of NATO, as a fundamental structure for the European and international security, and the transatlantic relations, and for the preservation of the principles of the current political order in Europe and expansion, are defined by the EU for the promotion of the stable global system capable to respond to the major security challenges such as international terrorism, nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation, trans- border international crime, ect.
Thirdly, and equally important, Romania and Poland, have shared responsibility for security and prosperity in their geopolitical area, which they assumed during the last years.
Fourthly, and this naturally flows from mentioned issues, I would like to point out at the role of the Romanian – Polish strategic partnership in defining the two countries capacities to project and enforce vision at the regional and European level. The political and military cooperation, the strategic dialog, which we have at the level of deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of National Defense, working very well, and all these tools, all those mechanisms are instrumental for promoting our common views on security topics and for contributing to the decisions and stances at the Euro-Atlantic Community.
Let me show some things and objectives of the key interests in the current regional context in which Romania and Poland have convergent, if not similar, positions, approaches, visions, which were confirmed during recent visit of the Romanian president Klaus Johannis to Warsaw.
Above all there is a need for solidarity within the EU and NATO, as well as for further coordination within EU and NATO. We must be able to counter any geopolitical ambitions and force of aggression which are against the current order in Europe and imposition by force of the will of the stronger or the sphere of influences. In the light of the prospect of the NATO,s Warsaw Summit we firmly state the needs to strengthen the Alliance’s eastern flank; in particularly is important to Romania and Poland to synchronize their efforts within NATO, which make credible NATO’s presence in the area and particularly on our own soil. In this regard establishment of NATO’s force of anti-aggression units on the territories of eastern alliances, in the Baltic countries, in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria is an important step to strengthen collective defense on the NATO’s level. In addition Romania offered to establish on its territory an international division, South-East Headquarters. These structures are designed to consolidate the collective defense, which is an objective which we must constantly keep in mind.
In the circumstances which should be stressed from our point of view to fulfill the commitments to insured the proper defense budget Rumania has made the decision to allocate since 2017 for 10 years of at least 2 proc. of GDP for defense expenditures. Knowing about Polish decision in this respect we are happy to find the full convergences of commitments and will of our countries concerning the topics of such importance.
Romania’s reformers are developing further its strategic partnership with the United States of America having its starting point the strategic cooperation in political, military and security fields relating among others to insure the solid presence of the American forces on the Romanian soil, putting in place the missile defense system in Europe, which will become in Romania operational at the end of this year. Participating in joint missions and exercises, combating the terrorism, capitalizing pragmatically on the opportunity generated by the European Reassurance Initiative launched by the end of 2014. Our countries are in the best position to support American commitment in Europe, especially in central and European areas. It is very important to maintain a high degree of the coordination and solidarity. In this regard we fully support the initiative agreed during the recent visit of our president to Poland regarding the organization in Bucharest this fall the summit of the UE and NATO members states situated on the eastern frontier, similar to the summit held in Warsaw in July of the last year.
Poland is also promoting, together with other partner countries, the major relevance of the eastern flank from the Black to Baltic Sea for the European geopolitical configurations and developments. Likewise we share with Poland the conviction that the prevalence of values of standards and institutional European models is the key factor not only for democratic stability, for sustainable prosperity and comprehensive security in this region, but also for the course of the relationships between the Euroatlantic Community and Russia. I do not think that is necessary to say that security of Europe is at stake today at the eastern border of Romania and Poland. The outcome of the current political and military developments in the area may influence not only the order on the continent, but also the global balance.
From this point of view we also share the feelings that the Euroatlantic Community is firmly rejecting any attempts to withdraw by force the European boarders. This is crucial in this context. We are categorically in favor of the increasing attractiveness of the EU offer for the Eastern Partnership countries that signed the Association Agreement
( Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia) thus providing the clear European perspective to these countries. The enlargement of the EU had probably been the most successful policy of the EU foreign policy. And this approach is continuing to reinforce the Union and consolidate its status as a relevant actor on the global stage.
The particular objective to mention is that Romanian and Polish authorities will focus in the period to come is to insure the success of the Riga summit. We would like to see the EU able to offer a medium and long term project for the Eastern Partnership states. The entire community should support unambiguously the European aspirations of the countries that signed the Association Agreement and the comprehensive the Free Trade Agreements. There is no doubts that Romania and Poland will always stay together in this affords of reassurance. At the same time we intend to agree on and to implement together specific projects in building up the institutional capacities for the Eastern Partnership countries as far as European integration is concerned, but also to identify the new ways of stimulating and facilitating the European path of the Western Balcan countries.
Speaking of the Eastern Partnership, which is part of the European Neighborhood Policy, let me mention here one of the initiative which Romania has suggested in the process of revision of the European Neighborhood Policy. The Romania proposal is called “The Security Trust” , that is the permanent platform of dialog on security issues at large.
As far as shared visions of Romania and Poland it is important to note that we have been, and will be, promoters of not only the need of the EU to continue of its enlargement but also NATO’s open door policy. Of course without artificially speeding up certain processes or making compromises on membership criteria, our countries share equally the same view on the need to strengthen the EU and NATO’s partnership with all members, in the east, south, south-east, and to assist them in their struggle for sovereignty, democracy and prosperity.
From the bilateral point of view we have to implement more efficiently the directions included in the Romanian Strategic Partnership of 2009 and in its subsequent Action Plan. But we will not confine ourselves to the bilateral efforts and the bilateral approach of the importance for both countries of their relations with Turkey. We have trilateral body on security issues, Romania- Poland-Turkey, which is working very well at the deputy ministerial level since 2012. And we would like further develop this format which is highly beneficial for the security and the coordination within NATO and among the three countries.
Coming back to the bilateral cooperation we have the common major interests in strengthening the military collaboration trough new initiatives in the modernizing of our arm forces, engaging in joint projects in the defense industry, taking part in joint exercises with other related parts, modernizing training courses for military personnel, exchanging expertise., etc.
The economic cooperation between Romania and Poland is very dynamic and this is reflected by the continued growth of the trade, but there a lot of potential opportunities that we have to use. We support the development of the bilateral industrial partnership with private and public involvement, especially in creating the high technology oriented field. We consider appropriate in this context to launch Romanian – Polish Economic and Innovation Forum which was discussed by our presidents. We must to bring together on European bases Romanian and Polish specialists, especially from top technological and innovative sectors as well as education, research and development institutions.
At the same time we propose the diversification of our bilateral cooperation of strategic and critical infrastructure and transport relations which is consider to be important to deep our collaboration in energy sector. Working together to make energy union is also
the very important joint objective of Romania and Poland within the EU.
Let me to conclude by saying that in my view would be beneficial to put more emphasis on people to people contacts, on cultural exchanges, but also on the role of Romanian community in Poland and the traditional community of Poles living in Romania, and on what they can do, the role they can play in strengthening the connections between our nations. Minorities in Romania, including Polish minority have the role to play. They have an important role in the decision making in the Romanian society. All minorities in Romania have automatic representation in the Romanian parliament, subsidies from the state, but also freedom to speak of their own language including in the administration, in justice, and in public and private events. It is a role of intercultural relations, which is highly appreciated by the representative of the Polish statesmen and also by the Polish minority in Romania and I think it is very important to use this bridge