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President Iohannis, at the Report on 2016 activities of SRI


President Klaus Iohannis says he urged the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) to balance and lack of bias in conducting its activities, and also to deepen its partnership with the civil society. 

"I have urged SRI to unconditional balance and lack of bias in conducting its activities, and also to deepen its partnership with the civil society, with the citizens whose security it is called upon to guard," Iohannis told a news conference following a meeting on Wednesday that took stock of the 2016 activities of SRI. 

He went on to underscore the important part of SRI in preserving national security. 

"I have voiced my trust in SRI's capability of defending us against current and future risks. As an essential pillar of the national security system, the activity of the service conducted at comparable standards as in consolidated democracies enjoys respect from partners, beneficiaries and the society alike," said Iohannis. 

He commended SRI for the outcome of its main missions in 2016 and important contributions toward founding strategic decisions, fending off cyberattacks, fighting against organised crime and preventing threats of a terrorist nature. 

"Romania and Romanians have been preserved in a safety zone as a result of constant efforts and efficiency of preventive actions on the part of SRI, which had intense cooperation with institutional partners at home and international partners abroad," said Iohannis. 

He also underscored SRI's preoccupations with achieving a partnership with the citizens. 

"I have hailed the preoccupations of the Romanian Intelligence Srvice with developing its technical and operational capabilities needed to manage challenges of the information era and did so with good results," said Iohannis 

He mentioned that SRI in 2016 kept on enjoying the reputation of a trustful partner in external formats, showing that SRI actively and consistently contributed toward buttressing Romania's foreign policy national interests. 

"I am still expecting at least the same level of contribution to the provision of knowledge required to found decisions regarding the advancement of Romania's interests," said Iohannis. 

He reiterated the need for instruments, including legislative ones, adjusted for the domestic and foreign realities, required for ensuring national security and that provide an adequate framework for intelligence activities, being made available to the Romanian State, and SRI, implicitly. 

"Such instruments are still overdue, despite the fact that regional and international developments call for high flexibility and action mobility," said Iohannis. 

In the end, Iohannis praised SRI for its continual efforts to consolidate its capabilities to manage challenges against national and Euro-Atlantic security. 

"I am congratulating the SRI staff on their results and success, which oftentimes go unmentioned, as in fact it is natural to be in the case of a secret service," said Iohannis.

Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) Eduard Hellvig stated on Wednesday in the institution's review meeting, that it's time for a large debate for a package of laws regarding national security that has to be "minimally intrusive" and offer "constitutional guarantees."

"Our main ally is and will remain the citizen, and an educated citizen is a powerful ally. Our other support is and will remain the law. [...] We work only based on the mandate received from the decision-making bodies. In 2017, the SRI is called to protect and promote Romania's national security based on a law from 1991. Since then 26 years have passed and the realities have changed radically. [...] It's time of a large public debate for a legislation package on a minimum intrusive national security, with constitutional guarantees for citizens, especially with ethical reference points, but adapted to what we are living today. The law has to protect the citizens' rights and liberties, but also offer a framework through which these rights and freedoms are ensured. Without abuses, based on a Western pattern, transparent and correct," Hellvig stated.

On the other hand, the Director says he is in favor for more attention to the dangers represented by terrorism, espionage, illegal trafficking, cyber-attacks, but also by other categories of cyber-attacks or forms of hybrid and informational aggressions.

"Through our programme of promoting a culture of security, we want to create in society the necessary antibodies to reject the subtle aggression forms that some states try to use where they have an interest. The Service's officers will get out more in society in order to explain to the people and institutions how should they generate measures for protecting data, heritage, connected infrastructures and how to shelter them from attempts of illegal influence," the SRI Director added.