19 April 2019

Interview Iulian Chifu: For Romania to have a role within NATO, it must firstly solve its internal problems

Nicolae Oprea

Professor Iulian Chifu, former presidential adviser, states, in an interview for MEDIAFAX and the Defence and Security Monitor, that Romania’s ambitions within NATO mostly depend on solving its internal problems, as well as on the resources our country has on the field

Professor Chifu states that Romania should cannot stand out within NATO, as a stability pillar in the Black Sea area, without solving its internal cohesion problems, as well as the decisional ones.

Also, the former presidential adviser states, in an interview for MEDIAFAX and the Defence and Security Monitor, that a European army, autonomous to NATO, is not possible.

We are presenting you the entire interview:

MEDIAFAX: Do you think it is possible to have a European army, as some European leaders have stated, an army to be autonomous to NATO?

Iulian Chifu: I do not know think they have ever considered such an autonomy. Actually, the European Army project, at least the one in Sarkozy’s version, in Sorbonne, was transformed into the European Intervention Initiative, with a quite reduced ambition level compared to the current one, and even that initiative proved to be at odds with the European defence and security policy, and now it is required a time to reconsider, to see a new project that France could propose to be in line with its interests, but also to the already agreed European ones. Hence, the European Army version, the classic one, to be autonomous to NATO, is less likely to happen, firstly because 82% of the European security and defence investments, after Brexit, will be ensured by states outside the European Union, as follows: US, Great Britain, Turkey, Norway and Canada. Therefore, it is less likely, because you do not have your own internal capacity.

MEDIAFAX: How should Romania respond to such an initiative?

Iulian Chifu: I think it has to follow the initiative alike this one, to collaborate with its partners and reaffirm its stances. The main stance is that the United States is indispensable to our European defence. We should never get to choose between the United States and the European Union or between NATO and ESDP (European Defence and Security Policy).

MEDIAFAX: Is Eastern Europe a vulnerable area within NATO?

Iulian Chifu: I do not know if particularly within NATO. Each geographic area has its threats, risks and vulnerabilities, which are already mapped, even where there are capabilities, less or more, which respond, which can counter these risks and threats and can cool down vulnerabilities. The Eastern flank has, indeed, less international presence, although with the last capabilities I have seen that we kind of balanced things with this quick reaction force. On the other hand, we do not have to forget that the last official event from Washington, the 70 years since NATO’s establishment, had the Black Sea theme, with a commitment coming from NATO, with some clear statements from the Secretary General, including the ones referring to Georgia becoming a NATO member.

MEDIAFAX: What should be Romania’s role, as stability pillar, here, in the Black Sea area?

Iulian Chifu: For Romania to play any role, it must firstly solve its internal coherence, cohesion and decisional problems. Constitutionally speaking, these are already established, but, from time to time, it happens that we get to see certain stances out of the constitutional order and the international regulation. Hereof, the ambition level must be established also considering the resources we have. It is very simple to self-identify yourself as regional leader or a key element in NATO’s scaffolding, as long as you do not have the necessary tools to actually make these things happen.

MEDIFAX: In terms of cyber threats, are these a security problem for Europe?

Iulian Chifu: It is already globally known. Cyber threats are everywhere and these are the ones causing most of the problems. At the last reunion I have seen the Congress hearings, wherein the banks were telling us how the cyber threats are the most important threats challenging the financial integrity. The second element is the one related to informational warfare. These are somehow concurrent and we have seen what happened in the United States, as it happened with Brexit in the Great Britain, the use of targets and information collected from different servers, like Mrs. Clinton’s emails, and then used in an informational warfare against a candidate, to disturb the electoral process, to erode some institutions.

MEDIAFAX: Are factors like radical nationalism a threat for Black Sea’s security?

Iulian Chifu: Radical nationalism, generally, populism, any type of authoritarianism, putinism, which we have seen that is becomes an export ideology, the new communism… All these radical and ideological approaches are obviously affecting the Black Sea region as well. Some were saying that Visegrad’s space would have the biggest problems at the moment, and that is true, this type of populist epidemic is expanding and exists inside of each European state and in the Black Sea as well, hence, we must see how the force balance looks like to that end and if we can talk about an ideology which helps to project the interests of another state or a third state.

Professor Iulian Chifu serves as Counsellor of the Romanian Senate since July 2016. Mr. Chifu was Presidential Counsellor for Strategic Affairs and International Security. Iulian Chifu has participated at the security conference organized by the Defence 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).