News review of the day – February 13th

Full press statement by President Klaus Iohannis following European Council meeting in Brussels

Klaus Iohannis: This was the first European Council meeting I had the honor and pleasure to attend as President of Romania. The background of the works was represented by an extremely complicated geopolitical situation. I have welcomed the decision made by the two leaders, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of France, François Hollande who have supported the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during these far-from-easy ceasefire negotiations. They have undertaken a difficult mission. I wish to reiterate my assurance that political will is the only solution for the Ukraine crisis and we have to resort to dialogue in order to prevent further bloodshed. We now have renewed hope that Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignity will become priorities for all participants to these negotiations, especially for the Russian Federation, that has so far proved otherwise.

We have all been presented with the text of the new agreement. We receive it in full assurance, but we are however aware of some lingering tension and sore points that we cannot overcome without political will and unless we stick together. Most of the matters agreed upon today had previously been included in the September Memorandum in Minsk. Therefore, we cannot afford to get our hopes up too high considering that this is it. Unless these terms are complied with, we are determined to discuss a new series of sanctions.

During the reunion I have met with President Poroshenko, a most necessary meeting which was intended by both of us. I have received an invitation to visit Kyiv as soon as possible. Next week I am going to welcome the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Bucharest. Romania is aware of the high risk represented by the armed conflict near its borders and is determined to help ending it. We have agreed to boost bilateral co-operation as we share common interests regarding regional security.

The second important subject on the agenda was the pursuit of the fight against terrorism. All the more so after the tragic attack in Paris which shed a new light on this subject and a new political dimension. On Romania’s behalf, I have endorsed a declaration regarding measures to be taken in this respect. They aim to ensure safety of the citizens, prevention of radicalism of any kind, co-operation with international partners. Romania has endorsed measures meant to create necessary instruments to defend EU citizens and to consolidate European co-operation. We are also supporting co-operation with non-EU partners in order to counteract this threat, by full use of the existing framework. I have insisted that these measures should not create new divisions inside the European Union. A broad perspective and approach is needed in order to capitalize this extraordinary sense of solidarity born after the Paris attacks and to avoid stigmatizing one or the other community.

I have stressed out the need to maintain a balance in what fundamental rights are concerned, such as pursuing the principle of free movement within the EU, the existing legislation and our responsibility to ensure security of our citizens. I have pleaded for actions that should avoid creating new barriers, for decisions that should be enforced coherently within the EU borders without discrimination between Schengen states and non-Schengen ones.

As expected, we have also had a debate regarding the situation in Greece. President of the Eurogroup Mr Dijsselbloem has presented the main aspects approached at yesterday’s reunion. We are glad that an agreement to start technical consulations has been reached tonight between the Greek Prime Minister and the Eurogroup leader before convoking the Eurogroup reunion next Monday.

The last subject on the agenda was consolidation of the Economic and Monetary Union. The debates have mentioned the measures agreed upon in the EU to stimulate investment, monetary policy and budgetary aspects. In this context, the importance of pursuing structural reforms by all member states has been once again stressed out. I have reiterated Romania’s wish to adopt the European currency and from that perspective we are going to pay close attention to this undergoing process of consolidation of the Economic and Monetary Union.

Thank you for your attention!

Defense Ministry firmly dismisses allegations regarding call for reservists

The Defense Ministry (MApN) firmly dismisses allegations regarding a call for reservists and any mobilization or recruiting processes of young men on Romania’s territory. The ministry has pointed out that such actions are possible only after declaring war or mobilization in accordance with the relevant law. The press release by the MApN follows several reports on this matter amid the crisis in Ukraine. The Defense Ministry made similar statements last May following an order asking for an update of medical certificate forms that are presented by young recruits upon call-ups.
MApN has explained then that this legal measure has nothing to do with possible developments threatening security in Romania’s vicinity.

State-controlled cyber infrastructure attacked during presidential elections – STS chief

State-controlled cyber infrastructure relevant for presidential contenders have been attacked last November during the elections, according to a statement made on Thursday by Special Telecommunication Service (STS) chief Marcel Opriş. General Opris has mentioned that instruments of cyber war can be used for political purposes as well, but failed to provide more detail. The statement was made during a debate organised by the group of Liberal MPs in the Chamber of Deputies on the controversial draft bills called „The Big Brother laws”. Liberal deputy Mihăiţă Calimente considers now that the STS chief should be heard by the Defense Commission regarding these statements.

Romania’s Foreign Ministry calls for responsibility and cohesion of Moldovan pro-European forces

Romania’s Foreign Ministry has called for „responsibility and cohesion” of pro-European forces in the Republic of Moldova urging them to create a solid political alliance capable of pursuing the European integration process. According to a press realese on Thursday, the FM expresses its assurance that wisdom and maturity of political forces in Chisinau are going to prevail for the sake of all Moldovan citizens. Radio Romania reminds that the Cabinet led by the appointed PM Iurie Leanca has failed to receive endorsement by the Parliament yesterday. The MPs have only 45 days left to vote for a new government otherwise the Parliament risks being dissolved by President Nicolae Timofti.

Romania’s GDP 2.9 higher last year against 2013 – temporary data by the INS

Romania’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 2.9 percent higher last year against 2013, according to revised forecast data by the National Institute of Statistics (INS). These kind of early estimations released ahead of temporary forecasts are less accurate and are based on a limited set of data. GDP of the 4th quarter in 2014 was in real terms higher by 0.5 percent compared to the previous quarter and 2.5 percent against the similar time frame in 2013 (given seasonal factors).

33rd Mountain Troops Battalion leaving for Afghanistan on a new mission

Romania’s Defense Minister Mircea Duşa and Chief of Staff Nicolae Ciucă are attending the farewell ceremony of the 33rd Mountain Troops Battalion “Posada” leaving on a mission to Afghanistan today at 1100 hours. The Romanian troops are going to protect the military base in Kandahar and assist the Afghan security forces. The mountain troopers have already been on four previous missions in operations theatres in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bianca Ioniţă