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DefMin Fifor: 40 percent of last year's 2 percent Defence allocation directed to Army endowment spending

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 Minister of National Defence Mihai Fifor said on Tuesday that this is the second year when Romania allocates 2 percent of GDP for Defence and of this amount, about 40 percent was spent last year for the Army's endowment.

Romania is in the second consecutive year when 2 percent [of GDP] has been allocated to Defence; last year Romania spent about 40 percent of this 2 percent chunk alone for the Army's endowment. Technically, Romania meets all three NATO requirements, specifically the 2 percent allocation, achievement of capabilities and the presence in the theaters of operation, having more than 700 troops deployed thereto, Fifor told a joint press conference delivered with his Polish counterpart Mariusz Blaszczak, occasioned by the meeting of the Defence ministers of the countries which are part of the Bucharest 9 Initiative (B9).

Mihai Fifor said that Romania has all the interest in a considerable share of the money allocated for endowment returning to the national defence industry.

As far as offset is concerned, Romania has all the interest that much of the 2 percent allocation to the Armed Forces, or of the 40 percent assigned last year strictly for endowment, returns to the national defence industry. After all, I've said it every time, Romania didn't go out shopping, Romania wants to give the national defence industry a new lease of life and this is done through industrial cooperation, through technology transfer, through the offset we are talking about. ... Romania has projects that generate offset for the country, for example the armored carriers contract with General Dynamics is an offset vector. The Bucharest Mechanical Plant will be upgraded on this money and that's not all. We also kicked off the program for the four multi-role corvettes, and the offset package will help modernize the two frigates of the Romanian Navy purchased from the UK, Fifor explained, adding that other programs too will generate offset to the national defence industry.

In his turn, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said that his country allocates 2 percent of GDP for defence and 20 percent of the amount is earmarked for upgrade projects. He added that Poland wants increased mobility among Eastern flank countries, which is why it is attentively looking at the Via Carpatia expressway project which will connect the Baltic states to Romania and Bulgaria and will run down to Greece. This is an important route that will allow for rapid cooperation and rapid response in the event of a threat, Blaszczak said.

NATO officials and representatives of the US Defense Department are also attend the meeting of the Defence ministers of the countries of the Bucharest 9 Initiative (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia).



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