17 April 2019

DSM Conference. George Ciamba interview: It is important to keep security as in its current state

Petriana Condrut

The European Affairs Deputy Minister, George Ciamba, has stated for MEDIAFAX and Defence and Security Monitor that it is important to keep security as in its current state and that the European army project would only make sense if the US would disengage from Europe.

Image source: Mediafax

We are presenting you the full interview:

MEDIAFAX: You have stated in the past that the NATO-European Union strategic partnership is a matter of interest for the Romanian presidency at the European Union Council. What steps have been done to that end in these 3 months?

George Ciamba: We have always had a common perspective, as a national stance, and that is what we have been trying to do as Presidency as well, to have a complementarity process between the European Union and NATO, meaning each of them to do what they know best. We need some consolidated support from the EU in defence. For example, in the fundamental research area; Romania is one of the PESCO founders, which is a great thing, and also one of the members that want to have an EU budget dimension to bear upon the defence industry. At the same time, the reality on the field is the one we already know and the security that NATO ensures is very important, especially in times when there are security threats everywhere and Romania is placed close to an area which is not that easy to deal with and also close to threats coming from the Black Sea. It is important to keep security as in its current state and not decrease the deterrence importance the North-Atlantic Alliance has.

MEDIAFAX: How does the European army matches with the NATO Alliance?

George Ciamba: It is a great concept. However, not a new one. These have gone before as battle groups that were gathering military forces from many EU member states, it is not something structured or that has the same organization like NATO, but it is an idea of a process that would only make sense if the US would disengage from Europe. As for the Eastern flank and Romania’s perspective, we did not see any disengagement. On the contrary, we could say that the US has increased its commitments in the past years, including through what is happening, for example in Deveselu, in Poland, hence, there is certainly no disengagement to justify the creation of a military capabilities alike the European Union.

MEDIAFAX: NATO and the European Union. Are these two complementary institutions or we could rather talk about a competition in certain fields, like the military one?

George Ciamba: In many fields the EU manages things better, in others NATO does it better, and this is actually the point. Let’s not forget that these have a quite common origin and that they were organizations created starting from different objectives, NATO an intergovernmental cooperation organization and the European Union an integration organization, a place for rules to be implemented, not a cooperation between governments, like NATO, which upkeeps the national dimension better. Let’s not forget that the end of the Cold War, Berlin’s fall, was possible thanks to the fact that there was no competition, but a complementarity.

MEDIAFAX: How does Brexit get along with NATO and which would be the consequences?

George Ciamba: Having this special relation with Great Britain, the fact that it is leaving the EU is a loss for us, because we were close to their perspective in many topics, including how we perceive the threats coming from the East. Hence, we must admit that Great Britain’s withdrawal from the common defence and security European policy is a loss for us. We hope to counterbalance this loss with a strategic partnership with Great Britain. Actually, Great Britain has stated many times that it is leaving EU, but not Europe and Europe’s security, which will remain as important as before, and that it is totally committed and will bring a military contribution. We have seen these things also in the frigates exchange from the Black Sea, so from NATO’s perspective nothing will change. Furthermore, we are ready to have a strategic partnership with Great Britain, after the status will be clear, which is after EU will order its leave.

The European Affairs Minister has participated at the security conference organized by Defence and Security Monitor, part of MEDIAFAX Group.

Defence and Security Monitor organized, Tuesday, the “Transatlantic security bridges over increasing security vision gaps- Romania’s perspective” conference”, among the guests being also security experts, high-level militaries and members of the intelligence services, like: American General Charles Wald, former Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command, Carol Rollie Flynn, associate professor of the National Security Program of the US Research Institute for Foreign Policy, Anthony Pfaff, research professor for the Military Profession and Ethic at the Strategic Studies (SSI), U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA, retired Army colonel and Foreign Area Officer (FAO) for the Middle East and North Africa, Hans-Lothar Domröse, Former Commander of Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum and Arnold Dupuy (senior analyst on Energetic Security for the US Defence Department)