The Minister of National Defence, Nicolae Ciuca, on Sunday underscored, in his message for the NATO Day, that the North Atlantic Alliance has been playing an important role in battling the crisis generated by COVID-19.
"In these tough moments, it's more important than ever to think about unity, the spirit of solidarity that lies at the very core of the existence of the Alliance, about how we can help those who need us or where we can ask for help ourselves. This spirit of solidarity has been and continues to be proven by a series of interrelated actions. The Czech Republic donated protective equipment to Italy and Spain, Germany received patients from Italy and France, physicians from Albania and Poland went to Italy, the newest member, North Macedonia, uses the NATO crisis response system to inform its citizens, Even these days, allied aircraft carry materials and aids, proving that NATO has an important role in the response to the crisis generated by COVID-19," said Nicolae Ciuca, in a message transmitted by the Ministry of National Defence (MApN).
The Minister of Defence also added that the Alliance supports the efforts of the authorities and the civilian population, helping with logistical support, field hospitals, patient transport, disinfection of public areas, the protection of borders, and that NATO allies demonstrate their solidarity and cooperation in fighting COVID-19 pandemic.
"Romania, in its turn, transported medical equipment from Turkey and Germany with its own military aircraft, and aircraft from the Multinational Strategic Transport Unit brought to the country 90 tonnes of protective equipment from South Korea. (...) The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge to all of us, perhaps the biggest challenge facing the humanity since the end of World War II, and our response will be once again given by the defining principles of the Alliance: unity, cooperation and support," said Minister Ciuca.
He brought to mind the complex role of the Romanian troops in the missions and operations abroad. "I know that the coronavirus pandemic and what happens at home with their families is an additional challenge, which adds to the inherent stress of the missions, but I am convinced that the Romanian troops will carry out their tasks to a good end, with us having the role to take care of their families, here in the country, a role we assume fully from the level of the MApN management team and up to the level of the family support groups set up at the level of the transmission units in the country," said the Defence Minister.
He also told the troops he is certain that, following the long-standing procedures and the new measures to prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19, they will be able to carry out their missions, together with the NATO allies and partners, as well as at home, together with their colleagues from the Ministry of Interior.
Ciuca also said that the basic mission of the Alliance, that of defending the sovereignty of the Allied territory, is today as current as ever.
"The regional and global security environment remains unchanged, but after this critical period, changes in the manner of understanding of national security may occur in some states. Which is why it's important, as a member of the most powerful political-military in the world, to understand these changes quickly, to adapt permanently, to train ourselves to the highest standards and to continue the programmes of endowment and modernization of the Romanian Army. These days, NATO has become stronger by accepting the 30th Allied State: the Republic of North Macedonia. I congratulate the new allied state and I am sure that together we will make an important contribution to the stability of the Western Balkans," said the Defence Minister.
He also recalled the moment 16 years ago, when Romania became a full member of NATO, pointing out that "NATO membership brought us security and prosperity, brought us experience, through missions and exercises we participated in and we continue to participate," but it also led "to the modernization and professionalization of the Romanian Army."
On the occasion of the anniversary of the NATO Day, the national flag of Romania and the flag of the North Atlantic Alliance were raised on Sunday at the Ministry of Defence's headquarters. Also, similar activities dedicated to Romania's accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization were also carried out in various units at municipal level and local garrisons.
On March 29, 2004, Romania formally acceded to NATO, by submitting the instruments of ratification with the State Department of the United States of America, the depositary state of the North Atlantic Alliance Treaty.
The submission of the instruments of ratification was followed, on April 2, 2004, by the ceremony of the official raising of the Romanian flag at the NATO headquarters.
Based on Law No. 390 of September 28 2004, the NATO Day is celebrated in Romania every year in the last Sunday of April. The NATO Day is a public celebration dedicated to democracy, the European and Euro-Atlantic spirit.