US Ambassador Hans Klemm: Failing to fight corruption allows Russia to take advantage to create disunity within the Romanian society

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In an interview for ‘Free Europe’, US Ambassador Hans Klemm says Laura Codruta Kovesi is “fully qualified” to be European Prosecutor and says the US Embassy has “a team that monitors Russia’s malignant activities in the press and Romanian society.”

“Major strategic threat? Without question it is Russia. There are other threats, terrorism, trafficking, cybercrime and lack of cyber security, but if we think about the threats in the Eastern flank of NATO, the Black Sea region, it is certainly Russia. We are very concerned about Russian aggression, one decade ago in Georgia and more recently in Ukraine, aggression that occurred again towards the end of 2018 in the Kerch Strait. Also the militarization of Crimea that has occurred since Russia illegally seized Crimea several years ago. All these are manifestations that have caused great concern in Romania, but also for the Unites States,” the US ambassador said.

“When you look at activities supported by Russia to interfere in the US elections and domestic politics and similar activities in other allied and partner countries, the Russian behavior recently is of major concern for the United States. Together with China, Russia was cited in our national strategy as a major strategic competition for us to be prepared for. Here at the embassy, we have a team in place that monitors Russian malign activity in the Romanian press and Romanian society and increasingly we are trying to share that information with our Romanian partners in the Government, but we are trying to share it with the Romanian public. The level of Russian propaganda and attempts of malign influence it is startling high and we are very grateful for the resilience Romania has shown against these activities,” Ambassador Klemm added.

Regarding the bilateral relations between Romania and the US, Hans Klemm said it is important for both countries. He has three priorities, one of them being to promote prosperity, the prosperity of America together with the prosperity of Romania. The US envoy said things are not so bad, because during his three years in Romania, the bilateral trade has increased by almost 30%, with US exports up by about 50%.

In order to attract more US investors, Romania should consider changing policies, to consider the principles of stability, predictability, transparency and actual wish to consult the actors involved before making changes, the US Ambassador said.

Ambassador Klemm said the US military will remain in Romania as long as we are allies within NATO and as long as our countries face a threat that needs the presence of American troops.

Referring to Laura Codruta Kovesi, the US Ambassador said that “we have had excellent cooperation with Mrs. Kovesi when she was Prosecutor General and DNA chief prosecutor, we have great appreciation for her abilities and we believe she is qualified for the position of European prosecutor in Brussels.”

Referring to the changes to the justice system and legal framework, the Ambassador said: “If we look at the North Atlantic Treaty, the Washington Treaty, in its preamble it reads that all members of NATO must pursue the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. Our strategic partnership is founded on similar principles. Rule of law includes independent judiciary, prosecutors free from political influence and an effort to combat public corruption, The risk that we see here is that Romania does not fully embraces there principles, and by failing to fight corruption allows an opportunity for actors who wish Romania harm, such as Russia, to take advantage of these opportunities to create disunity within the Romanian society.”

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