SRI balance sheet for 2016 – President Iohannis calls for balance and unconditional equidistance

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SRI head Hellvig lobbies for new governing law.

President Klaus Iohannis attended on Wednesday the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) balance sheet for 2016, and called on the institution for balance and unconditional equidistance, but also for deepening the partnership with the civil society.

The President underscored the “important part SRI has played in maintaining the national security status.” He added that SRI enjoys the respect coming from partners, beneficiaries and society.

“I have appreciated the SRI results last year, in its main missions and contributions in substantiating the strategic decision, fighting cyber attacks, the fight against organised crime and preventing terrorist threats. Romania and the Romanians remained in a safety zone as a result of the constant efforts and of the SRI’s preventive actions, which conducted institutional cooperation as well as with foreign partners. I especially stressed the institution’s concern to have a partnership with the citizens, as they are the ones to directly benefit from stability and security,” President Iohannis said.

The head of state has also underlined his expectations from SRI.

“Further on I expect at least the same level of contribution in supplying the necessary knowledge to substantiate decisions related to promoting Romania’s interests. I asked from SRI to show balance and unconditional equidistance in conducting its operations, as well as the deepening of the partnership with the civil society, with the citizen, whose security it should provide. The increase in knowledge degree and in anticipating the development trends of asymmetric threats or of the hybrid ones is absolutely necessary, an issue I have stressed during the balance sheet presented today,” Klaus Iohannis said.

The head of state also said he appreciated the SRI concern to develop the technical and operational capabilities needed to manage the challenges of the informational era.

Iohannis pleaded for instruments at SRI disposal, such as the legal framework, adapted to domestic and international realities, in order to provide national security and to present an adequate framework for intelligence.

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“These instruments are still being expected, although the regional and international developments call for deeper flexibility and mobility,” President Iohannis said, adding congratulations for the results, although such successes, most often than not, remain unknown, as it is natural for an intelligence service.

 Hellvig:  ‘It’s time for an honest partnership” between SRI and all state institutions’

The director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI), Eduard Hellvig, told the activity report sitting on Wednesday that “an honest partnership” between SRI and all state institutions is needed, while also stressing that the service needs a new governing law for the current one dates back in 1991 and is not adjusted to reality anymore. Hellvig has repeated in his speech that “SRI is just an intelligence service and nothing more” and that it must “permanently aligns with the rules of the democratic game.”

“I took the office as director of a solid, reformed organization two years ago… The desire is that in 2017 SRI should find its natural place in a democratic society: as information supplier and early detector,” Hellvig stated.

He voiced intention of modernizing even more the partnership with the state institutions. “We’ll work for a more transparent control pattern, a more open relationship with the Parliament and particularly with the civil society. A permanent alignment of SRI to the rules of the democratic game is needed,” the national intelligence head pointed out.
He added that the world is facing major issues (such as terrorism, espionage, cyber attacks, hybrid aggression), while the insecurity level reached its maximum worldwide.

Hellvig also referred to the service’s governing law.

“SRI is called to provide security based on a basic operation law enforced in 1991; 26 years have passed and realities have dramatically changed. It’s time for a wide public debate for an ampler, minimum invasive security legislation package, with constitutional guarantees for citizens and ethics benchmarks, but updated to the reality. It’s time for an honest partnership between SRI and all state institutions, for we can protect Romania only by teaming up,” the SRI director said.

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