New Approaches to Old Problems – Romania and the Middle East (4 of 4)
Written by Amb. (ret.) Doru Costea, Ph.D
What follows is the fourth and last chapter of the TrueStoryProject Middle East paper. The full paper will be published on June 18, exclusively on the TrueStoryProject website in the TrueStoryPapers section.
This paper develops remarks made by H.E. Amb. Doru Costea at the 3rd edition of the Atlantic – Black Sea Security Forum that was organized by Aspen Institute Romania and the Bucharest Office of the German Marshall Fund in Bucharest, Romania, on June 1, 2021.
An obvious question in this conversation is what Romania’s interests are as far as the Middle East developments are concerned. For the Romanian public, the issue is quite familiar, following the legacy of diplomatic, economic and human relationships with the area; at the same time, it is equally known that the priorities of Romania’s foreign policy have been reoriented toward the European and Euro-Atlantic integration for the last decades, which has taken a toll on dedicated actions and/or diplomatic initiatives in the region.
And it is probably here that an important part of the answer to the above-mentioned question lies: being a Member State of the European Union and a staunch Ally in NATO, both of which do have Middle Eastern issues on their agendas is supposed and, even more, obliged, to contribute to debates and decision-making processes pertaining to these problems. The very debate on the Future of Europe and the goal of enhancing EU’s global role beyond its economic might would be an auspicious opportunity to re-focusing intellectual and diplomatic resources on this chapter of the CFSP. Likewise, the security dimension that defines NATO’s mission and shall be minutely examined in the NATO 2030 endeavor brings the focus on the Middle East among the top priorities of the Alliance. Both processes are most relevant through the close interaction between developments in the Middle East, the Balkans and the Black Sea, thus substantiating Romania’s strategic interests in the stability and security of these regions.
Romania holds useful cards in this exercise by virtue of its accumulated knowledge of the area, which is further enriched by the performance of its diplomats, from the responsibility of representing the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq to the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to successively heading EU Delegations in Abu Dhabi and Kuwait.
Another reason, closer to home, is the sizeable dimension of Romanian communities living and working in the area, as well as of Israeli citizens of Romanian descent – reportedly, some 400,000, which maintain an active relationship with their country of origin. Moreover, the Romanian economy has rather important partners in the area, both in terms of trading, particularly agricultural products, and cooperation in various domains, including hi-tech and investments.
Photo source: Romania Insider