Romania's Defence Minister Gabriel Les attended an informal meeting of the European Union defence ministers in Helsinki on Wednesday and Thursday, praising the efforts to increase visibility of artificial intelligence on the EU's strategic agenda, according to a press statement released on Thursday by the Romanian Ministry of National Defence (MApN).
"In his speech to the meeting, the Romanian minister of national defence welcomed efforts to increase the visibility of artificial intelligence on the EU strategic agenda and voiced support for the continuation of the reflection process on this topic, in an approach that will allow a common vision of future directions to be crystallised. The Romanian official emphasised the importance of taking into account the fundamental principles that support the EU's efforts, such as ethical considerations, the legislative framework, the criteria of transparency, predictability, as well as issues regarding an efficient financial management. The Romanian official underscored the need for a common approach with other international organisations, including by creating an appropriate regulatory framework, as well as the usefulness of developing co-operation with NATO on this level," the MApN release reads.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, as well as NATO Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller also attended the meeting in Helsinki, which discussions focused on topics such as artificial intelligence and new technologies, the impact of climate change and environmental issues on security and defence, as well as the integrated maritime policy. Also discussed were hybrid threats at a joint meeting with foreign ministers.
In the session on climate and defense, the ministers had an in-depth discussion, pointing out that climate change represents a growing threat to peace and security, with an impact on the population, generating, among others, an intensification of the migration phenomenon and a reduction in the countries' ability to ensure security.
Les emphasised that climate change acts as a "threat multiplier", amplifying the existing vulnerabilities in societies and threats against security. Les also voiced support for efforts to identify solutions for sustainable energy in the field of defence and reiterated Romania's constant support for that dimension, including by organising, during its term of office as holder of the six-month rotating Presidency of the EU Council, a fourth meeting of the consultative forum on energy sustainability in the defence and security sector. Les pointed out that climate change and its influence on security are opportunities for a dialogue in the EU-NATO co-operation relationship.
"Regarding the EU Concept of Coordinated Maritime Presence, the Minister of National Defence, Gabriel Les, underlined that the initiative represents a very good basis for future discussions and analysis to establish a common understanding of the actions that need to be undertaken in this area. The Romanian official voiced belief that the initiative will contribute to strengthening the EU's role as a worldwide long-term maritime security provider in line with the priorities and objectives mentioned in the EU Global Strategy. At the same time, Minister Les undesrcored the need for a balanced designation of maritime areas of interest, highlighting the importance of the Black Sea region," the release reads.
At a joint meeting with foreign ministers dedicated to combating hybrid threats, Les expressed appreciation for the measures adopted by the EU in this area and highlighted the important contribution of the Center of Excellence in Helsinki in support of EU member states' capabilities building on this dimension. At the same time, he underscored the importance of EU - NATO co-operation, reiterating the need for a full implementation of the joint set of proposals adopted at the NATO summits in Warsaw (2016) and Brussels (2018).