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DEFENCE MINISTER’S MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF THE CELEBRATION OF ROMANIA’S NATIONAL DAY AND ITS CENTENNIAL


Today, we celebrate together December 1st - The Soul Day of all Romanians, a century since the achievement of the Great Union, a century of freedom and unity of our country in the European space.

At 100 years since the Great National Assembly from Alba Iulia, at December 1st 1918, which certified the unification of Transylvania with Romania, we can state that the process of the 1918 Great Union was and will stand for the most beautiful page of the Romanian history, its magnitude being given by the fact that entire Romania brought its contribution to this historical deed. The Reunited Romania brought near within its borders Romanian citizens from the Old Kingdom, Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bucovina.

The unification of Great Romania was possible with the conjugated efforts of the Romanian Armed Forces, which wrote glorious pages of heroism, and of the political factors, which identified the most proper ways of action, by making the most of the opportunities which arose once with the end of the First World War.

Endorsed by the treaties signed during the Peace Conference from Paris (1919-1920), the Great Union achieved in 1918 would not have been possible without Romania’s participation in the Great War and the huge sacrifices of our 330,000 servicemen who lost their lives in battle and prisons. They are the heroes of Great Romania, pure characters who fought for the achievement of a national ideal – Reunification of the Country – “the biggest deed in the history of our people“, as the historian Nicolae Iorga used to say.

The historical act of December 1st 1918, from Alba Iulia, also marked the assertion of our identity within the progressive nations of the world and was possible due to the concentration of all creative and patriotic energies. Political intelligence, the spirit of abnegation and sacrifice, the conscience of the decisive actiosn taken in the people’s support joined hands back then, in a common effort for the achievement of the Union - the ideal kept alive as a burning flame within the souls of all Romanians, from all centuries.

The Military was one of the pillars of the national edifice, while the sacrifice made by the servicemen who gave their lives on the battlefields of the First World War was rewarded by the successfulness of the Great Union achieved through the will of all Romanians.

The Romanian Armed Forces mark the Great Union Centennial by means of projects, manifestations and events organized at local and European levels, as homage paid for those who died fighting for freedom, faith, the Unification of the nation, and who placed their sacrifice above their own existence. Through their participation in the anniversary and commemorative events from the history of Romania, the Romanian Armed Forces prove to be the continuers of the combat tradition of the Romanian people.

All those who chose to serve their country - under oath - whether active, reserve or retired servicemen, are aware that Romania’s history was written with many sacrifices and each piece of earth of our country was defended with faith, honor and dignity by the Romanian Military.

We treasure and honor the National Day, we cherish it as a holy symbol, having the faith that there is no other uplifting mission than serving the Country you were born in, under oath.

Getting closer to the present, we remember the way the Romanian Armed Forces paid, during a period of complex transformations and participation in international missions, their tribute of blood and tears. We honor the memory of the 29 Romanian servicemen who fell on duty in all the theaters of operations we committed to participate in and we are sending a thank-you and respect message to over 180 soldiers injured in these actions. The Military paid a heavy price not only outside its national borders but also in the missions conducted domestically so that Romania can meet its obligations as active part of the international community and of the worldwide reconstruction effort of a better and safer world. Our comrades’ sacrifice was, is and will never be in vain.

Year 2018 is essential for the evolution of our armed forces. The military specialists could initiate important armament acquisition programs and other programs in different implementation and finalization stages with the help of a budget consisting in 2% of the GDP, for the second consecutive year. Thus, our servicemen will be able to better face the challenges of the modern conflicts by being better equipped, trained and an integrated part of certain NATO and EU missions.

The year which ends soon also consecrated the successful participation of the Romanian Armed Forces in the amplest exercises from the history of the North-Atlantic Alliance, thus, creating the premises for some future successes in the years to come. At the same time, the Romanian soldiers’ missions in the theaters of operations from Afghanistan and Western Balkans continued as well as Romania’s contribution to the North of the Eastern flank of the Alliance by sending several detachments to Poland. I can assure that all this national effort is noticed by our partners from NATO, because sending our soldiers to international missions are both affective and material efforts of the entire country. Thus, the Allies gave a favorable answer since the first measures taken for the strengthening of the regional security, in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia, to all proposals made by Romania with regard to establishing headquarters commands on its territory, the last one being made this summer when, following the Brussels Summit, the North-Atlantic Council agreed to Romania’s proposal of hosting a 3 star army-corps land component, on its territory.

These measures are completed by others taken at bilateral level during the reunions of the NATO Defence Ministerials. Thus, the Allies are committed and constantly send soldiers to man positions in NATO commands established on Romanian territory, while countries such as Canada and Great Britain support the enhanced Air Policing missions led by the Romanian Air Forces Staff by sending troops and equipment, by rotation, to increase security and integrity of the Allied air space, as part of the enhanced Air Policing (eAP) mission.

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There is a very complex 2019 year ahead of us, the taking over of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union being one of the elements of great significance in the first half of the coming year. As the other ministries and governmental institutions, the MoND representatives went through all preparation stages for taking over this very important mandate, both for Romania and Europe. In this respect, I strongly state that the priorities and topics of interest during PRES RO with respect to the fields of defence and security ( strengthening the European defence capabilities, consolidating NATO-EU cooperation, with focus on the trans-Atlantic link as well as the continuation of the European Commission efforts in allocating the funds designated for defence research), will be approached in an adequate and professional manner, so that, by mid-next year, we can talk about the successful honoring of the Presidency mandate of the Council of the EU.

The spirit of the Great Union achieved at Alba-Iulia a hundred years ago is more topical than ever. The only option we have in facing all kinds of challenges, both domestic and international, is to choose to be united!

The message the Romanian Armed Forces send today to the citizens of our country is depicted from the lesson of the Great Union: “have faith in our own forces, stay united and have hope in the future in pursue our national interest”. The Romanians often proved their faith in the destiny and in the force of our nation, and I can assure you that the Romanian Armed Forces honor the people’s trust in this fundamental institution, by all they do.

At the same time, on the occasion of this holy celebration of the entire Romanian nation, I would like to wish health and success to the entire personnel of the Romanian Armed Forces, to their families who permanently support them, as well as to the war veterans, the reserve and retired military personnel and to all our citizens.

God bless the Romanian people and the Romanian Armed Forces! May the souls of our country’s heroes rest in peace!

Many years ahead, Romania!
MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
GABRIEL LEŠ

The Press Office

 

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Actualizare: 16.12.2018