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ForMin Aurescu tells French counterpart Romania not thinking NATO in crisis

Bogdan Aurescu

Romania's Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu held a bilateral meeting with the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian at the NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.

The two officials discussed the impact of French President Macron's recent statements on NATO, with Aurescu pointing out that, from Romania's perspective, "the Alliance is not in crisis and it is necessary for it to continue its adaptation process," according to a press statement released by Romania's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE).

Aurescu is quoted as saying "a process of reflection on the future of NATO in the new global security context may be useful, which may be connected to a future debate on a new strategic concept of the NATO to replace the previous one adopted in 2010 at the NATO summit in Lisbon."

He pointed to a joint declaration on the strategic partnership signed in 2018 by Romania's President Klaus Iohannis and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that re-launched the bilateral relationship, and he suggested the soon completion of a roadmap for its application, to be prepared for signing by the prime ministers of the two countries on a first meeting at this level. The updated roadmap of the strategic partnership is meant to establish a higher level of bilateral, European and international cooperation, MAE said.

Aurescu also suggested the activation and reconvening of the 2+2 (foreign and defence ministers) format under the strategic partnership, a proposal received with openness by the French counterpart.

In his conversation, Aurescu reiterated Romania's priority objective of joining the Schengen area, showing that Romania counts on France's support in the process.

Mentioning the Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2019 and the good co-operation with France during that time, Aurescu evoked the potential of bilateral co-operation including at EU level, voicing interest in an in-depth dialogue on current items on the European agenda.

The Romanian minister also mentioned security policy, suggesting that France should look into the possibility of an increased military presence in the south of the NATO eastern flank, in Romania, as part of a multinational brigade.

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