On Thursday, 31 January, on the second day of the Informal Meeting of the EU Defence Ministers, which took place at the Palace of Parliament, Bucharest, Defence Minister Gabriel Leş had bilateral meetings with the defence ministers from Italy, France and Greece.
The talks with the Italian counterpart, Elisabetta Trenta, focused on identifying ways of developing military cooperation both at bilateral level, within the Strategic Partnership between the two states and within the North-Atlantic Alliance.
Minister Leș expressed his appreciation for Italy’s contribution to the implementation of the reassurance measures on the Eastern flank of the Alliance, within the tFP, by assuming certain staff positions within the Multinational Brigade South-East and restated our country’s interest in hosting an-army corps level ground command and control component (Multinational Corps South-East – MNC-SE).
The Italian minister thanked his Romanian counterpart for the solid contribution brought by the personnel manning positions within allied structures hosted by Italy as well as for the excellent cooperation during the allied operations conducted in Afghanistan, Western Balkans and Iraq.
The series of meetings continues with the meeting between defence minister Leș and the French defence minister, Florence Parly, when the two officials approached topics referring to the development of bilateral cooperation in the defence area and priorities on NATO and EU agenda.
Following Romania’s assuming the Presidency of the Council of the EU, the two officials analyzed the main challenges posed to the Union but also priority subjects included in the European project in the defence field. The two officials emphasized the common interest with respect to the consolidation of the EU cooperation projects, especially the CSDP ones and PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation), EDF (European Defence Fund) and CARD initiatives (Coordinated Annual review on Defence). With regard to CARD, following the taking over of the Presidency of the Council of the EU on a rotational basis, in the first semester of 2019, Romania will organize, together with EDA, a workshop dedicated to the development of the methodology of this initiative meant to support the member states in providing the critical capabilities.
Also, today, defence minister met with the Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff, Evangelos Apostolakis, and approached subjects referring to the modernization and equipping of the two armed forces and evaluated ways of enhancing cooperation between the two states in the field of defence.
In this context, minister Leș appreciated that the new cooperation in the field of defence, signed in 2018, represented a step forward with regard to the development of the relations between the two countries and offered new perspectives on the cooperation in the naval, cyber defence and military mobility fields. Also, the Romanian minister invited his Hellenic counterpart to participate in the conference entitled “The Black Sea and Balkans Security Forum 2019”, which will be organized in June, this year, in Bucharest.