News review of the day – April 22nd

Defense Minister’s speech marking Romanian Land Forces Day – highlights

Romania’s Defense Minister Mircea Duşa has delivered a speech today marking the Romanian Land Forces Day.

The Romanian Land Forces is the most important structure of the Romanian Army. The modern bases of the Land Forces go back in the second half of the 19th century following the revolutionary process in 1848 and the forging of our modern state by the Union of Principalities in 1859 when ruler Alexandru Ioan Cuza started a new military policy.
Since 1991, the Romanian Land Forces have been involved in complex missions in various fields of operations. Our commitments abroad have been undertaken gradually and we are now present on three continents under UN or OSCE mandates or under NATO’s and EU’s command. The Land Forces play a significant role for Romania’s security by the relevance of their missions towards our country’s security needs which are directly related to their inherent capacity to cover the whole range of military operations. Maintaining combat readiness of these forces nowadays and in the future alongside their upgrade to military capabilities of the 21st century require a cumulative longterm effort, involving time and resources. Cavalry, Infantry, Mountain Troopers, Paratroopers, Field Engineers alike are part of the Land Forces and they represent a modern military organism with similar operational readiness as any other advanced European military, being flexible, dynamic and capable to complete any mission.
Our country’s accession to NATO and the EU has given us the opportunity to be part of world’s most powerful forces but it also compels us to build a strong, flexible army. We should point out once again that most of the troops participating in conflict zones come from the Land Forces. It is not by chance that we gathered here today in front of this monument dedicated to the fallen in the missions abroad. They are proofs of courage and sacrifice.[…] Today is their celebration and they deserve our respect and appreciation.

Romania, Bulgaria and Greece agreed to start the Vertical Gas Corridor project

Romania, Bulgaria and Greece have agreed today in Sofia to start the project meant to build The Vertical Gas Corridor connecting the gas grids of the three countries that will have a capacity of 3-5 billion cubic meters per year and will carry gas from Azerbaijan and from Greece’s LNG terminals. In 2014, the three states agreed to build a pipeline that would represent an alternative to the South Stream project. Works to the interconnector between Bulgaria and Greece are due to start in March 2016 and be completed by the end of 2018 whereas the Bulgaria-Romania interconnector is bound to be ready by the end of this year. 220 million euros will be allotted for this project from European funds.

Senate adopts amendments concerning financing of political parties and electoral campaigns

The Senate has adopted amendments introduced to a law concerning financing of political parties and electoral campaigns, with a large majority during a plenum sitting today. The law had been resent to the Parliament by President Klaus Iohannis for re-examination.The Senators have also adopted a modified version of the political parties law.
One of the amendments adopted today stipulates that political parties are allowed to be given loans by private individuals or legal persons which however must be returned in maximun three years and only by bank transfers.
Another provison empowers the Permanent Electoral Authority to control revenues and expenses of political parties.
Founding a political party is possible now with only three members against the old stipulation that required 25.000 signatures. An article that stipulated dissolution of those parties which couldn’t obtain a minimum number of 50.000 votes nationwide in two consecutive runoffs has been eliminated from the new law regulating the activity of political parties.

The Senate was the first chamber to debate these amendments.

Cyber attacks in Romania doubled in 2014 against the previous year

Attacks on the Romanian cyberspace have multiplied last year, according to the President of the Research Center for Security, Crisis Management & Conflict Prevention, Alexandru Groşeanu who stated that 80% more attacks were registered in 2014 against 2013. Alexandru Groşeanu has pointed out that instability of the region in one of the main  causes that triggers these risks.

Alexandru Groşeanu: Statistical data provided by CERT-RO (Romanian National Computer Security Incident Response Team) show that 44 million cyber attacks had been registered in 2013 whilst in 2014 the number went up to 77-78 million. This security balance disruption and confrontation with our great Eastern neighbour have been and continue to be, in our opinion, the causes of these increasing security risks and attacks in our cyberspace.

Bianca Ioniţă