Update: President Klaus Iohannis welcomes NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, target of 2% of GDP defence expenses is very close

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President Klaus Iohannis has welcomed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday, at Cotroceni Palace and had tête-à-tête talks, followed by the official dialogue. The talks were followed by a joint press conference.

 “Romania has committed to spend 2% of GDP for defence. (…) For the first time in years, we can approach army endowment from the strategic point of view over medium or long term. We gave a ten-year plan. (…) We have ongoing strategic programmes,” President Iohannis said during the joint press conference.

Referring to the issue of corvettes, President Iohannis said it was discussed by the Supreme Defence Council and the answer lies with the Government and the Defence Ministry, “The concrete answer about the auction for corvettes will come probably when the ministry gets the answer to our notification, as they have uncertainties, but we know what we want as a whole. We have the funds and we will make ends meet,” Iohannis said.

In turn NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he expects everyone to keep its promise to reach the 2% of GDP expenses for defence. “Romania is very close and this year will reach the 2% level. We see that more and more allies invest in defence, Since 2016, the European allies had more contributions by USD 41 billion for the defence budget. On the basis of the national plans we’ve received, we expect the amount to increase to USD 100 billion by the end of next year,” Stoltenberg said.

NATO Secretary General participated Wednesday evening to an informal summit of the EU Defence Ministers taking place in Bucharest for two days.

Earlier, during a joint press conference with Premier Viorica Dancila, the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the allies need to invest in defence in the context of facing a world more and more dangerous and unpredictable.

In turn, PM Viorica Dancila mentioned misinformation by fake news, which allegedly represents a menace.

Thursday evening the head of state will meet the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, TVR 1 public television reports.

photo: presidency.ro

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