The Southern Dimension of NATO Enlargement. Romania's Vision
H.E. Mr. Adrian Nastase, Prime Minister of Romania|
Thank you, Professor Micqiel, for your hospitality and kind support
in organizing this event. You are a friend of Romania, with profound
understanding of our country and our region. You lent instrumental
help in opening the "Nicolae Iorga Chair" that, through the dedicated
work of Professor Mihaela Albu, as well as of other Romanian academics,
is a fulcrum of Romanian language and literature in this highly
reputed university. I would also like to commend Romanian Society
for the hard work in promoting Romanian culture and traditions
while building friendship between Romanians and Americans.
Distinguished Professors and Students of the Columbia University,
Both as a professor and as a politician, it is a special pleasure
for me to share with you my vision of Romania and our contribution
to the peace, security and freedom of the Trans-Atlantic space
The attacks of September 11 touched our souls because they assaulted
the very essence of our humanity. Along with thousand of Americans
and hundreds from around the globe, eleven Romanians fell victim
that day. The magnitude of the trauma in the United States generated
shock, emotion and sympathy among the Romanian people. Thousands
of Romanians gathered on September 14 in Bucharest to convey --
through their presence and their prayers solidarity, compassion
and support for the American people.
Those atrocities made clear that terrorism is the most insidious
and immediate threat faced by our nations. They also generated
the antidote: for those who share common values to unite the cause
of defeating evil. International support is essential in the multifaceted
theaters of the war on terrorism: military operations; diplomatic
coalitions; financial countermeasures; intelligence sharing; and
law enforcement coordination.
The Importance of NATO Enlargement
Although some questioned the rationale of NATO's existence after
the fall of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, wiser voices
saw that the alliance that was so critical in winning the Cold
War could be even more central in securing the peace. How? First
by thwarting a dictator's desire to conquer neighbors, exploit
ethnic unrest and use mass murder as a tool of policy. In Bosnia,
in Kosovo and now in Macedonia, NATO acted, NATO fought and NATO
Second, NATO began a historic process of enlargement to invite
qualified new democracies to join the alliance. The 60 million
people of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were the first
beneficiaries of NATO's role in consolidating the new Europe.
It is no surprise to them or to Romanians, that NATO invoked the
Article V mutual defense clause in its charter for the first time
in its history after the attacks on September 11th.
In November this year in Prague, NATO members will meet in a
historic summit. NATO will consider momentous issues: the evolving
relationship with Russia; interaction with the European Union's
nascent defense capabilities; and how best to meet the security
challenges of the 21st century. NATO will also issue invitations
to Europe's new democracies for full membership in the alliance.
The scope of NATO's enlargement was boldly defined by President
Bush in his historic June 2001 speech in Warsaw: "from the Baltic
to the Black Sea".
Inviting new European democracies to join NATO will further consolidate
stability and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. It will,
finally erase the old Cold War division and complete a Europe
that is whole and free. NATO enlargement will also enhance NATO's
ability to meet the challenge of terrorism. As NATO Secretary
General Lord Robertson pointed out at the November 2001 Sofia
Summit of NATO candidate countries, there is no better insurance
against terrorism than enlarging NATO by inviting stable, multi-ethnic,
rule of law-based societies that share the same values that bind
North America and Europe?
Moreover, Europe's new democracies have already acted as "de
facto" allies. Without the pressure of treaty or law, they freely
chose to assume the central obligation of NATO -- Article V --
that an attack on any member of the Euro-Atlantic community is
an attack on all. Concrete support to military operations was
provided: we opened our airspace, airfields and port facilities
to Allied forces; we committed our intelligence assets, search
and rescue personnel, and military forces to the campaign. We
froze financial assets linked to terrorist groups and denied terrorists'
access to Europe. In my view, a new alliance emerged from September
11th when the 19 NATO members and Europe's new democracies joined
as de facto allies for a shared purpose.
The democracies of Central and Eastern Europe are reliable allies
in countering the 21st century threats to the Trans-Atlantic community:
terrorism, trans-border crime and ethnic or religious intolerance.
After the hard legacy of communism, our national identity - our
European identity - is defined by an unwavering commitment to
pluralistic democracy, free markets, respect for human rights
and the rule of law, good relations with our neighbors and complete
dedication to EU and NATO integration. With our mixed religious
and ethnic populations, we are a bridge between the West and the
Islamic World. We believe that the democracies of Southeastern
Europe will continue to make significant contributions to European
security. We remain firmly committed to the integration of the
Baltic and Central European countries in NATO. Each of us has
a unique role to play in fostering stability, security and freedom
from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
The Southern Dimension of NATO Enlargement
As President Bush said in Warsaw, "the expansion of NATO has
fulfilled NATO's promise. And that promise now leads eastward
and southward, northward and onward".
Romania and Bulgaria are the most populous of the new European
democracies. We are the tested partners in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia
and the war against terrorism. From a geo-strategic perspective,
including Romania and Bulgaria in NATO will consolidate the southern
flank of the Alliance and strengthen its ability to address current
security needs. Challenges remain in the western Balkans. Surrounding
the territory of the former Yugoslavia with stable and democratic
NATO members will increase the prospects for economic and political
success in the region. NATO's strategic contiguity would be also
ensured, since Romania and Bulgaria would link Northern and Central
Europe with Greece and Turkey. The Prime Ministers of Greece and
Turkey have publicly expressed their support for a southern dimension
of NATO enlargement including Romania and Bulgaria. They understand
that the Southern Dimension of NATO enlargement will increase
stability, reduce the potential for conflict and strengthen European
The Southern Dimension of enlargement will also strengthen NATO's
pro-active action against asymmetrical threats. Romania is already
working cooperatively in the region against trans-border crime.
The Regional Center against Trans-border Crime located in Bucharest,
Romania, for example, has seen success in dismantling regional
human and drug trafficking networks. Our inclusion in NATO would
strengthen the European barriers against criminal and terrorist
activities flowing from Central Asia and Caucasus.
The inclusion of Romania and Bulgaria will bring NATO to the
Black Sea and provide the Alliance with permanent forward bases
for air, land, and maritime traffic towards the Middle East and
Central Asia. Romania and Bulgaria have already proven their utility
in the campaign in Afghanistan, by opening air, land and maritime
space, and placing port and airport facilities at the disposal
of the United States and its allies.
I am proud that Romania was the one of the first countries to
join the International Security and Assistance Force in Afghanistan
with military police, transport aircraft and liaison officers.
We are ready to provide further support: doctors, a specially
trained military chemical unit and elite mountain troops. Our
offer was endorsed by the overwhelming approval of the Romanian
Parliament on December 21, 2001. It demonstrates our commitment
to act as a "de facto" ally of the United States and NATO in the
war against terrorism.
Romania's Contribution to NATO
What will Romania bring to the Alliance?
First of all, let me tell you that Romania's goal to join NATO
is fundamental and irreversible. It is based upon our commitment
to the shared values of the Trans-Atlantic community. It is consistent
with the choices for democracy pluralism, free market economics
and international responsibility that we made after 1989. We are
confident in our chance to make history in Prague. But we will
stay the course even if our moment is delayed.
In the past decade, we have come a long way. We have made mistakes.
We have learned lessons. And we have made tremendous progress.
Romania is a stable democracy, tested in three rounds of national
elections and two peaceful transfers of political power. Ethnic
tolerance and religious freedom are firmly rooted in our society.
We have come to terms with our painful historical legacies of
fascism and communism. We have returned confiscated properties,
destroyed statues of fascists, condemned anti-Semitism and preserved
Romania's Jewish heritage. We have done this not because we were
under pressure from abroad. We have done this because it is right
because it reflects the values we share with this great country.
After a decade of difficult economic reforms, 2002 should see
the third consecutive year of economic growth. A stand-by agreement
has been concluded with IMF and major privatizations were completed
last year. We are encouraged by the recent Moody's upgrade of
Romania's credit rating. Clear challenges remain however. We need
to lower inflation, speed up privatization, and improve the business
climate. I will not speak in code about this last point. Corruption
is a drain on our economy, a damper on foreign investment, and
blight on our image. It is a threat to the values we hold and
the freedoms we worked so hard to acquire. Fighting corruption
is the number one priority of our political and economic agenda
Romania would directly strengthen NATO's security role through
our experience in peacekeeping operations and our role, in promoting
stability and cooperation in Southeastern Europe. Romania remains
on the frontline of conflicts in Southeastern Europe. On September
19, the Romanian Parliament approved a tripling of Romania's participation
in SFOR and KFOR. We are at peace with our neighbors and seek
to promote diplomatic cooperation beyond our immediate borders.
Last year, we launched the "Partnership for Europe" with Ukraine.
Russia and Ukraine have important roles to play and Romania believes
the logic of engagement is the means to definitively dismantle
Cold War divisions in Europe.
Holding the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's
(OSCE) Chairmanship last year was a great test for Romania; it
is a test we passed with flying colors. We contributed to the
stability of Kosovo and Macedonia by facilitating the NATO's "Amber
Fox" Mission in Macedonia, overseeing the first Kosovo elections,
and in reducing tensions in Southern Serbia. During first half
of 2002, Romania will hold two important regional responsibilities:
the co-chairmanship of the Stability Pact's Working Table on Security
and the Chairmanship of the Executive Committee of the Southeastern
Europe Defense Ministerial. We will use these opportunities to
continue and enhance the Stability Pact's actions to build an
regional capability to cope with 21st century threats.
Romania would be a value added to NATO's military capabilities.
We are reforming and adapting our military to be a professional,
flexible force, fully inter-operable with NATO. Our armed forces
have been reduced to one third of their 1989 level, while the
military budget almost doubled in 2001. The huge increase in per
soldier spending has made a dramatic difference in our readiness,
morale and overall capabilities. This year, we will increase the
pace of military reform.
On March 25-26 this year, Romania will be honored to host the
Prime Ministers of Europe's new democracies to discuss the future
of the new Europe. It will be a meeting to celebrate shared values,
discuss common threats, and expand security cooperation. Each
of us aspires to NATO membership and each of us understands the
dramatic challenges facing NATO in the 21st century. In our view,
NATO enlargement is not a challenge but an opportunity - a historic
opportunity to strengthen NATO and build a Europe whole and free.
As President Bush said in Warsaw, NATO "should not calculate how
little we can get away with, but how much we can do to advance
the cause of freedom".
Romania is inspired and motivated by President Bush's vision
of NATO enlargement from the Baltic to the Black Sea. I personally
heard him when I met him last November. Romania has a road map
to success, as we have important friends, partners and supporters.
We have learned from experience not to take anything for granted,
mindful that everything is achievable through hard work and that
grand objectives are ours to achieve -- or to lose. I can assure
you that Romania will do whatever it takes to be prepared for
the rendezvous with history in Prague, that we will to be ready
to defend our common goals and values, and contribute to a larger,
stronger NATO able to meet the challenges of the 21st century
as ably as it met those in the last.