Romania's president, Klaus Iohannis, said the first humanitarian convoy to Ukraine will depart over the next few days
Russia's military aggression against Ukraine has prompted European states to prepare and enact measures concerning the management of the current crisis. In this respect, on Tuesday the president attended a videoconference jointly with European Council president, Charles Michel, aimed at coordinating efforts. Held ahead of the informal meeting of the European Council slated for Thursday and Friday, the meeting also involved the participation of the prime ministers of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Croatia, Andrej Plenkovic and Estonia, Kaja Kallas. Talks focused on efforts to manage and support the flow of refugees and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, the latter facing a high number of refugee arrivals.
At the same time, the EU officials discussed the EU's defense, energy security, with a focus on curbing the bloc's dependencies, diversifying its supplies and coming up with solutions to the latest energy price hikes. President Klaus Iohannis presented Romania's actions in support of neighboring Ukraine. The measures include the decision to host a logistics hub aimed at coordinating and collecting international humanitarian aid addressing Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, which will soon be rendered operational. Klaus Iohannis also highlighted Romania's support for the EU accession requests filed by Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia. With respect to energy security, Romania's president referred to medium- and long-term measures aimed at curbing the country's reliance on Russian imports and diversifying national energy supplies.
The head of state also underscored the role of energy interconnection at EU level, referring to the pipeline linking Greece and Bulgaria and to the BRUA pipeline. Last but not least, president Iohannis underlined the importance of tapping into Romania's substitute fuel potential with a view to ensuring energy security. Klaus Iohannis also addressed the energy price hikes, which remain a priority with respect to their impact on the population and economies as a whole, arguing in favor of identifying EU-wide solutions to protect end users. On the other hand, the Romanian official spoke of the need to consolidate European collective defense and announced Bucharest's decision to increase defense spending to 2.5% of the GDP starting next year. (VP)