March
2008
REPORT - FOREIGN POLICY
 
Vol. 4 No.2  
 

Stuck in the middle with EU

Romania is a willing partner of the Euro-Atlantic alliance, but this relationship has seen its ties with Russia and the Republic of Moldova deteriorate in the last three years, reports Ana-Maria Nitoi
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Romania’s membership of the European Union and NATO are guiding its foreign policy objectives. The country is seen as a follower of the international consensus, rather than a pioneer of new policy. It has tended to side with the largest member states, such as the USA and UK, on policies such as support for the war in Iraq.
Under NATO supervision, the country has around 600 military personnel in Afghanistan. Unlike Germany, Italy and France, which have refused to send their soldiers to the most dangerous theatres of warfare in southern Afghanistan, Romanian soldiers are in the line of fire.
This willingness to take part in high-risk combat is an important reason why Romania was able to hold the NATO conference this April, argues Liviu Muresan, president of think tank Eurisc Foundation.
Romania’s current President opened his mandate in 2005 by talking of a Bucharest – London - Washington DC axis. The US has operational military bases in Romania and the new EU country’s soldiers continue to serve in Iraq.
Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu has stated that USA’s proposed missile defence system in Poland should be shifted eastward, to fully cover Romania and Bulgaria, because NATO’s idea of solidarity should extend to southeast Europe.
The US plan includes ten ground-based interceptors in Poland and a tracking radar in the Czech Republic to defend European countries under threat from a long-range attack from the Middle East. The anti-missile shield will cover only 70 per cent of Romania’s territory, an axis north of Drobeta Turnu Severin in south-west Romania to Galati in the East, ironically missing out the US bases near Constanta.

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