17 April 2019

DSM Conference- Arvydas Pocius: After accessing NATO, great changes have emerged

Teodora Marinescu

Many politicians have thought, after accessing NATO, that they will be safe without investing too much in the budget and later they have gave up the obligatory military service, but crisis from Georgia and Crimea have raised some concerns, states Lithuania’s ambassador to Romania, Arvydas Pocius.

Image source: Mediafax

“After accessing NATO, great changes have emerged. Almost all NATO member states have transformed the army into a professional structure. Most of the people and politicians have thought that they were safe and that NATO will protect them without investing too much in the budget. Later on, almost all NATO member states have gave up obligatory military service. It was a political decision, but we know what has happened in 2008 in Georgia and what happened in 2014 in Crimea and East Ukraine. To be honest, many politicians were shocked and questioned themselves on their next steps, the defence budget being only 1% and I think that that question was very important. It is clear that at peace times, having many militaries costs.”

“Thus, our countries have some backup organizations. There are mandatory forces, we must always have a back-up for the armed forces. I found out that without backup things do not work that well. I was in the army and I think that all those who were in the army as well agree with that. Look at what happened when we stopped recruiting. We did not trained people for a new crisis, and many young people do not know what must be done during a crisis or a war.”

“My message for the Romanian authorities, for the politicians and leaders in the army, is actually a question and a proposal. If now is the time to have systems from Great Britain or the Northern countries or Poland, why would not be the time to have well prepared and educated people? Not just the military men, but also the backup and the population”.

His Excellence, Mr. Pocius, is the current Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to Romania. Ambassador Arvydas Pocius will provide informed and thoughtful perspectives concerning the key global issues and trends driving changes of transatlantic security, emphasizing how the alliance’s Eastern flank has still to be strengthened to face unprecedented security challenges of the contemporary world.