The volatile security situation around Romania has made the Romanian Government increase defence spending to 2% of the GDP, as of 2017
The security challenges in Romania’s proximity call for a new approach to national defence strategies. Early this week, when the 2016 activity report of the Romanian Defence Ministry was made public, the line minister, Gabriel Les, expressed Bucharest’s readiness to face and overcome the complex security developments in the region. Les underlined that after years of under-financing, the Defence Ministry’s budget stands at 2% of the GDP, as of 2017, which allows the experts in the field to reconfigure and modernise the military system, two measures that are much needed given the volatile security situation around the country.
Attending the same event, Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu said, in turn, that increasing defence spending to 2% of the GDP creates solid grounds for stepping up the process of modernising the Romanian Army. He only requested that the national defence industry be involved in the army equipment programs, given that the Government is determined to maintain defence spending at the same level in the 2018-2020 period, too.
In turn, state secretary for defence policy and planning with the Defence Ministry, Mircea Dusa, himself a former defence minister, considers that 2017 will be a crucial year for equipping the Romanian Army, considering that it is for the first time in many years that the army’s budget stands at 2% of the GDP. A guest on the "Euroatlantica" show on Radio Romania’s News and Current Affairs Channel, Dusa announced that on Thursday Bucharest hosted a meeting of the Defence Planning Committee, which set the objectives of the Romanian Army’s equipment and modernisation program, on short and medium term, up to 2026. According to him, there are eight major programs which refer, among others, to equipping Romania’s ground, air and naval forces. As regards the ground forces, the Romanian Defence Ministry wants to purchase 8x8 combat vehicles, trucks, multi-role platforms and anti-tank missiles.
As regards the air forces, Dusa says, the fleet of F-16 fighters should be completed and rendered operational this year, new radars should be purchased for the surveillance of Romania’s airspace, and ground-air missiles should also be bought. Dusa also said the equipment program this year also provides for purchasing corvettes for the Romanian Naval Forces, but the government decree issued last year, which provided for purchasing Dutch ships, will be repealed. He added that a new memorandum is currently being drafted to request Parliament’s approval. The state secretary with the Defence Ministry explained that all investment objectives and purchases of new equipment whose value exceeds 100 million Euros should be approved by Parliament. Mircea Dusa also said four corvettes will be purchased, but he added that it is too early to say who the manufacturer of these warships will be. (Translated by D. Vijeu)