Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Melescanu on Wednesday, in the opening of the "Nato@70 - CSDP@20: A partnership for the future" conference, organised on the sidelines of Romania's Presidency at the EU Council, said that the transatlantic relation remains "essential to the European security and prosperity" and underscored the importance of strengthening this relation.
"I would like to highlight a very important aspect for us, which should be part of our discussions today. I am thinking of our obligation, of all of us, to strengthen the transatlantic relation. It remains essential for the European security and prosperity. Our common priority should be to build a strong political consensus between the European and US leaders on security topics, which we must solve together. Of a coherent manner, the operations must reflect on all levels, in concrete activities. In conclusion, I would say that we cannot conceive peace and security without the transatlantic relation, and from our point of view this is one of the key-elements of our progress in ensuring security and defence for our countries, as well as worldwide," Melescanu pointed out.
He also noted that NATO is regarded "one of the most long-lived and successful alliances in the world," underscoring its capacity "to adapt and transform," to respond to security priorities.
"On the other hand, in respect to the EU, there have been many developments, we have EU's Global Strategy for the security policy. (...) One of the important evolutions inside the EU is the permanent structured cooperation, PESCO, representing one of the responses to the false dilemma between efficiency and inclusive approach. It has the potential to play an important role, if we make sure the cooperation projects regard the real capabilities existing on a European level," Melescanu said.
Melescanu highlighted that in regards to a series of regional topics, such as the Western Balkans, there has always been "a strategic convergence between NATO's and EU's activity."
"One of the elements of the cooperation between the EU and NATO was the Warsaw Summit of 2016, which created a legacy that must be kept and maybe we, the member states, should think of the manner in which to consolidate and develop it in the future. I am bringing to mind that regarding many important aspects in our region, such as the Western Balkans, there has always been a strategic convergence between NATO's and EU's activity. Even if they continued to keep their independence, they cooperated and we had important lessons to learn in respect to strategic coordination, interoperability development," the minister pointed out.
Melescanu underscored that security, alongside cohesion, represents one of the priorities of the Romanian Presidency at the Council of the European Union. he mentioned that Romania has been and remains "a strong advocate" of the EU-NATO partnership.
"In parallel with Romania's demarches aimed at the accession to NATO, initiated in 1994, we have also been interested in the accession to the EU. Since the beginning, ever since before becoming an EU member, Romania was involved in certain European security and defence policies, and this is a clear example regarding the approach we have in the region concerning peace and security. Before December 1999, Romania received the invitation to start negotiations for becoming an EU member state, and in respect to NATO, 23 years ago, Romania was the first former communist country to have signed the Partnership for Peace. This shows that Romania has been ever since the beginning a strong advocate of the EU-NATO partnership and that we remained strong supporters of the transatlantic relation," he underscored.
During the opening session of the conference also delivering speeches were: Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service Jean-Christophe Belliard, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs James Appathurai, and European Defence Agency Chief Executive Jorge Domecq.