Center for Strategic Decision Research


Romania and the New European Security Structure

His Excellency Victor Babiuc
Minister of Defense of Romania

The city of Prague, like the cities of Budapest and Warsaw before it, has become a representative capital of the most solid alliance known in modern history--NATO. Prague's beauties and hospitality are serving us well as we take part in a workshop that promotes political reflection and institutional coordination that I am honored to be part of.

If approached in a nontraditional manner, the subject of European security is filled with curiosities. First, during its long history, Europe has needed more protection from itself than it has from enemies that came from beyond its frontiers. Second, the spiritual unity that was at the foundation of the Continent's singular identity has often been under attack by its political and military rivalry. The supposed universality of Europe's values has been twice destroyed in this century alone by the fire of terrible wars and the breakdown of its ancient civilization.

Local solutions to the Continent's ongoing struggles, however, have, over the course of time, appeared. These are evidenced in the commanding citadels, the effects of geopolitics, and the design of modern security structures. Today, however, we have the opportunity to create widespread political conditions that can transform the Europe of the 20th century into a continent much different than it used to be.


The collapse of communism, the fall of the "Iron Curtain," the endorsement of the 1990 Charter of Paris for a New Europe, the dissolution of both the Soviet Empire and the Warsaw Pact, the disappearance of states and the appearance of others on the European map are all events of the past. History is rushing by, and it is time to look to the future. Romania is committed to enacting radical economic, political, social, security, and international policy changes so that it can integrate quickly with European and Euro-Atlantic structures. We have already begun reforming our military arm and are in the process of redefining our political and security policies as well.

Romania's national security strategy as well as its military strategy, endorsed by the Supreme Defense Council, are based on two concepts: stability and Euro-Atlantic integration. While the threat of world war has not been completely erased, the probability of widespread conflict has definitely been reduced. Global threats today stem from nontraditional sources, and are the result of the disintegration of the great Cold War military structures and the collapse of societies that were not capable of adapting to the radical changes. Current threats are being generated by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; drug and arms trafficking; enormous, uncontrolled population movements; ecological and technological disasters; as well as terrorist and extremist activities and organizations, including organized crime. To face these new global challenges, the new security concept must have as its main objectives citizens' protection, the guarantee of fundamental rights and freedoms, and the safeguarding and promotion of national interests. Each state must act as the instrument of its citizens' security.


Romania's security concept has developed from the fundamental geostrategic data that defines our position in the new Europe. That data establishes Romania as an important communication line between the northern and southern side of the Alliance on the border with Ukraine; with Poland, Romania provides the region's line of community and stability. Romania is a decisive element in the Black Sea equation, a key factor in the Balkans situation, and a mediator of the difficult relationship between Greece and Turkey. Romania can also be defined as the European gate to the Transcaucasian area, which is rich in oil and gas resources, and as a trans-European communication line on the Danube-Main-Rhine trajectory. Like all other Central European states, Romania does not believe it is threatened by any European state but by security risks resulting from the dissolution of Cold War-era processes.


Romania's strategy is an important part of the Euro-Atlantic community's endeavors to achieve a new security architecture on the Continent. It is focusing its efforts on the prevention and peaceable resolution of crises and conflicts. As part of this work, Romania is prepared to contribute to the North Atlantic Alliance's effort. To that end we have established a Rapid Intervention Force as the center of our armed forces' new structure; developed programs to increase our interoperability level and to upgrade command, control, communications, and information systems; and have made the extensive military reforms needed to create a smaller, highly specialized modern army.

Despite our current economic difficulties, Romania has assumed the costs--social and political as well as financial--of carrying out these reforms. We do not expect foreign support for our integration costs, and know that integration with NATO will result in many benefits. In economic terms, integration with the Alliance will cost more now than it would have two years ago. But every realistic economic and political analysis we have seen shows that integration with NATO and the European Union will solve Romania's most important security issue: preserving its identity as a member of the Western world, a world from which it was forcibly separated as a result of hostile political arrangements. To those who wonder why Romania wishes so strongly to integrate with NATO in the first wave, I say: Because we have been waiting a very long time for the chance to rejoin the community to which we belong--the Euro-Atlantic community.


Europe's new security architecture must be focused on the future. And it must be focused on its center, from which its values, cooperative efforts, communication, and mutual respect arise. This means it must rely on Berlin as well as Paris, Bucharest as well as Budapest, Prague as well as Vienna. The geopolitical arrangements of the past no longer hold in the future's light. Europe must cultivate diversity by cooperating under common standards that provide security and prosperity.

It is such a Europe to which Romania wishes to belong--now, not in the undefined future. Romania's accession to NATO in the first wave will be a victory over our past as well as a promise for our future.


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