Romania - NATO

Balkans

The involvement of the Alliance in the Balkans is part of the International Community’s efforts aimed to ensure the stability and the security of the region. It has two dimensions: first of all, a political dimension, reflecting the Allies’ support for the European and Euro-Atlantic integration of all the countries in the Balkans, as well as for the transformation of these countries from security consumers to security providers. The second dimension of NATO’s involvement in the Balkans is an operational one, through the missions and operations carried out by the Alliance in this region.

As a neighbour to the region, Romania is an active participant to the Allied efforts in the region. The Allied actions are consonant with Romania’s own political approaches, which take into account the regional implications of the problems in the Balkans.

The political dimension

The Alliance has several instruments at its disposal designed to assist in promoting its goals in the Balkans. The main objectives of NATO’s involvement in the area are maintaining stability and security, as well as supporting the aspirations of the countries in the region for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, including through the consolidation of domestic reforms. Among the instruments the Alliance has to further these objectives are the mechanisms placed under the aegis of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and the Partnership for Peace (PfP)  as well as the informal SEEGROUP - South East Europe Security Cooperation Steering Group. Beside these, the Alliance supports the activity of other fora with similar objectives, such as the South-East-European Cooperation Process (SEECP) and  the Regional Cooperation Council.

At the Riga Summit (2006), the Alliance took an important decision for strengthening security and stability in the Balkans by inviting Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia into the EAPC. Thus a solid base was created for the consolidation of the political dialogue among the countries in the region, with a positive effect on regional stability.

These mechanisms were further developed, on the basis of these countries’ desire to deepen their cooperation with the North-Atlantic Alliance. At the NATO Summit in Bucharest (2008), the Alliance decided to invite Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Montenegro to begin an Intensified Dialogue with NATO. The Alliance expressed, at the same time, its readiness to strengthen cooperation with Serbia. In meantime, Montenegro (December 2009) and BiH (April 2010) have been invited to participate in the MAP process, the latter on the condition to have the defence property issue resolved. Romania firmly supported these decisions, as an active participant to the implementation of the Alliance’s goals in the Balkans.

Romania also supported the invitation – during the Bucharest Summit - of Albania and Croatia to join the Alliance, as well as of the Republic of Macedonia, although regarding the latter, the process was postponed until after the resolution of the name issue. Romania was also a supporter of Montenegro’s accession to NATO. Most recently, at the Warsaw Summit, Allies reiterated their commitment to the stability and security of the Western Balkans, as well as their support to the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of countries in the region.

The operational dimension

The North-Atlantic Alliance currently leads in the Balkans a peacekeeping operation called KFOR. Also on the operational level, NATO is present in the Western Balkans through the NATO HQ as well as through the Mission of NATO Military Liaison Office (MLO) in Skopje and Belgrade.

The purpose of the NATO offices in Skopje and Sarajevo is mainly to assist and support the local governments in achieving the defence reforms and performing other activities linked to the preparation of these states in view of their Euro-Atlantic integration, through implementing the agreed dialogue and cooperation mechanisms. As for the MLO Belgrade, its primary mission is to link the Alliance with the Serbian Military with regard to the practical aspects of the implementation of the Transit Agreement between NATO and Serbia. Other tasks of the MLO are facilitating the implementation of Serbia's Partnership for Peace Programme, supporting the Serbia/NATO Defence Reform Group (a structure which provides advice to the Serbian authorities in modernizing the national Armed Forces), and providing assistance to NATO’s public diplomacy activities in the region.

Last update : March 2017

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