By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
Romania has achieved all the established security goals at the NATO summit in Wales, Romanian President said last night, wrapping up an intense diplomatic effort to ensure the country a better protection in the wake of the Russian aggression in Ukraine. Also this past week, the name of the Romanian designate commissioner has surfaced, upsetting some political calculations in Bucharest.
“We will host a NATO command structure. In the documents inaccessible to the public, Romania is entered as one of the countries that offered facilities for a commandment with an acceptable size. We have the infrastructure ready, Romania appears as a country which has made this offer, but we already know one of these commandments will be in Romania”, President Traian Basescu said in a press conference.
Basescu also reminded of the Readiness Action Plan which relocates NATO troops in countries in the former communist bloc. “Many have spoken about military bases. Romania already has two Romanian-American military bases, at Kogalniceanu and Deveselu. The plan increases the alternative and continuous military presence on the Romanian territory” he added. Currently, about 1.4000 US troops, of which 600 are elite marines, are stationed in Romania, with the number expected to grow, depending on the situation, Basescu further said.
The Romanian President also said the USA made an offer which eyes the creation of a naval training and drills center at the Black Sea, which will join US war ships and Romanian and Bulgarian fleet. “This center will all the time be supplied with ships of the US Navy, a destroyer entering the port of Constanta this very day” Basescu said.
Last, but not least, the Black Sea is highlighted in the summit’s documents as a region having “an important dimension of the Euro-Atlantic security as a result of the latest events in Ukraine. “In supporting achieving this objective, I have argued pointing to the arch of frozen conflicts around the Black Sea. Now, another one is about to freeze, it depends on what dimension the Ukrainian Transnistria will have” Basescu said.
The President also revealed Romania has offered to be a framework nation for a mutual fund which shall provide cyber security programs for Ukraine. One of the four programs NATO will deploy to this respect will be overtaken by Romania, he added.
All the security objectives Romania has set have been achieved, Basescu concluded. “We have managed to place Romania in a safety zone, I have the firm belief the summit declaration will make anyone thinking ten times before wanting to meet NATO on the organization’s Eastern flanks” he warned.
Also on Friday, the European Commission president elect, Jean-Claude Juncker, sent the list of designate commissioners to the Italian Presidency of the European Council. According to the document, Romania will be represented in the EU’s executive branch by Corina Cretu, Euro-lawmaker and vice-President of the European Parliament. She is a member of the ruling social-democrat party led by PM Victor Ponta. Her nomination marks a stage victory for the head of the government, embroiled in a fierce political battle with President Basescu who supported current Romanian commissioner, Dacian Ciolos, for a new term. Ponta has also shown little dexterity in maneuvering the country’s foreign affairs, even if he has run the country since May 2012 and is running for this fall’s presidential elections where he is seen as favorite. The only question now floating is what portfolio Romania will get. Ponta dismissed speculations about the possibility Romania gets the Humanitarian Aid job, seen as one with little influence. Another option on the table is the Regional Policy portfolio. If the process ends badly for Romania, namely with the country getting a low profile sector, Ponta may have to account for disrupting the nomination process by abruptly proposing Cretu who has not yet been heard in the Romanian Parliament, as the law requires.