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Romania’s National Security Strategy in the post-communist period


Key Concepts
 According to A. Wolfers: objective sense: absence of threats aimed at core values
Subjective sense: absence of fear that such values would be
National Security
 It represents the ability to preserve the nation’s integrity, territory and institutions
from external and internal disruptions while also controlling its borders.
 According to Lipmann: a state’s security is reinforced when it does not have to
sacrifice its interests to avoid conflict while being able to maintain them when
National Interest
 It consists of the amalgam of a country’s agenda encompassing economic, political,
social, military or cultural goals.
International Security
 The concept refers to the attempts of the international actors to ensure a safe global
environment where mutual survival is their core goal.
Security Strategy
 It represents the attempts of a state in elaborating the main security goals and outline
the major security concerns while also deciding upon the necessary means in
accomplishing the state’s security agenda and dealing with security threats.

International Security in the post Cold War period

During the Cold War, the bipolar world offered a relative balance of power where the
presence of constant threats of use of force made the military aspect the focal of international
security. Once the URSS collapsed, the geopolitical situation suffered several crucial
1. The emergence of new states asking for international recognition and attempting to
join international organizations;
2. New states dealing with the process of democratization, social reform and economic
3. The emergence of new conflicts where issues of nationalism and minority rights were
the focal point of disputes;
4. Traditional security policy suffered a shift insofar as the locus in international
security shifted from the state to the nation: ethno-nationalism and identity policies;
5. The sudden disintegration of a heavily armed empire which raised the issue of
weapon black market and weapon smuggling.
Therefore, the international security turmoil triggered by the end of the Cold War rests on the
instability from Eastern Europe. The political and military reshape of the world generated
fears that Eastern Europe could face a security vacuum. These fears, coupled with the fact
that the bloc of ex-soviet states had to deal with enormous political and economic issues,
acted as an impetus for these countries to try and join international security organisations
such as NATO.
Consequently, the fall of the URSS led to an unstable and uncertain international security
environment where states had to find the proper manner in which to address the growing
instability governing Eastern Europe.

Domestic security environment

After the anti-communist revolution, Romania had to ensure that the burdensome freedom it
acquired would be yielded to serve its national interests and to deal with internal issues which
could threaten its security. During the Cold War, Romania had no actual security strategy
because it trusted the soviet apparatus to protect it from aggression; once liberated from
communism, it had to take heed of the external security issues as well as potential internal
concerns and their effect on national security. The domestic security environment was
characterised by factors.
1. Romania had to escape from the isolationist position and learn to engage with
the international community
2. Romania was hesitant to state a clear position regarding the relation with
Russia which makes its national strategy a political mix between isolationist
attitudes and reformation as an aspiring Western country
3. The process of democratization became burdensome when control of the
Government lies in the hands of people educated in the Marxist-Leninist
4. The presence of extremist party in the governance which led to serious
discussions about the manner in which Romania planned to deal with
5. Internal factors such as the struggle in economic reform made Romania’s
security vulnerable
6. External conflicts developing at the country’s borders
Consequently, the domestic security environment displayed Romania as a country on her way
in strengthening its democratic regime but still hesitant in terms of national security and
global consensus. However, Romania remained firm on her position regarding its goals of
joining both the European Union and NATO. Significantly, the state enticed major political
consensus regarding the admission to these international instruments since all political parties
adhered to this security agenda.
Security Institutions in Romania
 The Romanian Intelligence Service (Romanian: SRI) is Romania's main domestic
intelligence service. Its role is to gather information relevant to national security and
hand it over to relevant institutions, such as Government, presidency and law
enforcement departments and agencies. The service is gathering intelligence by ways
such as signals intelligence (SIGINT), open source intelligence (OSINT) and human
intelligence (HUMINT).
 Protection and Guard Service (Romanian: Serviciul de Protecţie şi Pază,
abbreviated SPP) is the Romanian institution designated to protect and defend
dignitaries, as well as their family or close relatives. The institution operates
independently, although it collaborates closely with the Romanian Ministry of National
Defence and other secret services. Its motto is Semper Fidelis.
 The Ministry of National Defence is one of the fifteen ministries of the Government of

 The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Romania is one of the fifteen ministries of the
Government of Romania. From 23 August 1944 to 18 March 1975 the minister held the
title of Minister of Internal Affairs, between 2004 and 2007, held the title of Minister
of Administration and Interior, and since April 2007, Minister of Interior and
Administrative Reform. In December 2008, the Boc government changed the name
back to Ministry of Administration and Interior.
 The Ministry of Justice of Romania is one of the ministries of the Romanian
Government. It administers the judicial system.
 The Supreme Council of National Defence (Consiliul Suprem de Apărare a Ţării;
acronym: CSAT) is the autonomous administrative authority in Romania, invested by
the Constitution with the task of organizing coordinating, in a unitary fashion, the
activities related to the defence of the country and national security.

Their major impact on strategic decision-making is to maintain the identity, continuity and
development of the Romanian State so that it becomes the factor of democratic stability inside
the country and on the entire continent. These national organs were activating in order to protect
and serve the security of Romania; they diminished any kind of negative impact, especially in
that period.
Crucially, the major factor which could be credited for creating instability was the process of
transition from the old to the new order of European and international security.

Directions of the Romanian Security policy during the post-1989 period

1. Romania's development as a nation state, unitary, sovereign, indivisible, as a
democratic and socially independent state, by strengthening its legal status, balance and
social stability as well as its system of external relations.
2. Developing a social market economy: dynamic, viable and competitive, as the basis of
the strategic importance of increasing national wealth, in terms of integration
increasingly active in the international economic system, utilizing effectively in the
country's interest, its human and natural resources;
3. Providing general prosperity of the Romanian society to permit the operation of an
adequate system of social protection, affirmation of human personality, under full
exercise of human rights and fundamental liberties of citizens, including to minorities;
4. Developing a culture and a spiritual life consonant with the traditional values of the
people and its European vocation, affirming Romania as a source of European and
universal culture;
5. Ensuring physical and moral health of all citizens;
6. Protecting its environment and natural conditions acceptable for a normal life of all
7. Affirming the Romanian state as a factor of stability in the sub-regional and continental
level, increasing its contribution to building a climate of stability and peace in the

In that geopolitical context, Romania was committing itself to:

- Prioritize the role of the European Union in the development of the continent and its
positive influence on the evolution, including the increasing number of its members;
- Give importance to the potential of the Council of Europe in order to realize its
objective of setting up the democratic security in Europe;
- Establish NATO to the new European conditions, including the concept of “partnership
for peace” as a stabilizing factor of equal security for all the countries;
- To increase the importance of Romania in the changing process of the European
security policy;
- To adapt the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe to the realities of the
post – Cold War period in full compliance with conditions and principles of the Final
Act (1975) – whose viability in the new European context was mentioned in the
“Charter of Paris” (1990) to maintain the USA and Canada as integrated parts of the
future European security system;
- To include Russia and Ukraine in the respective system;
- To create a general new European security system entirely concentrated in the hands of
- The integration of Romania in the Western politico-economic structures (EU) and the
security ones (NATO, EUO), and to make full use of the ones it was integrated already
in (CSCE, EC);
- To enhance good cooperation relations with its neighbours and other closer states while
providing a better defence of its security system
- Risks of maintaining instability and conflict especially in the Balkans and the former
Soviet space make it more of a necessity to develop and maintain its military force of
the national security.
Security Threats
A few acts in the National Defence Bill from 1991 were considered threats towards the
National Security of Romania, such as:
 Actions which directly or indirectly provoke wars against the country or even civil
 Treason – helping the enemy.
 The suppression of the Romanian sovereignty, unity, independence or indivisibility.
 Armed actions which destabilize the state’s power.
 Spying and sharing the state secrets to foreign organizations, unauthorized by law.
 Sabotage or the actions which could remove by force the democratic institutions of
the state.
 Actions which threaten the life, physical integrity or the health of the people with
important positions in the state (Romanians or foreign) – their projects must be
protected while in Romania.
 The support or organization of totalitarian or extremist actions – communism,
fascism, racism; putting in danger the order of the state governed by the rule of law.
 Terrorist acts or other activities that support this kind of actions.
 Stealing of armament, ammunition or toxic substances from authorized places –
transport or utilization in other conditions than those provided by the law.
 The initiation or participation in a group which supports any of the statements above.

Romania faced risk factors for its national security.

Internal risk factors:
 After the Cold War – period of transition towards the 1989 Revolution – followed
by a complex process of political/economic/social restructuration.
 The decline of the production and the budget deficit threatened the economic
situation in Romania.
 Also the social costs for the unemployment and the social insecurity – the quality
of life decreased, antisocial actions and phenomena arise such as organized crime.
 Political instability and the appearance of extremist, separatist manifestations can
be considered risks towards the constitutional democracy and the human rights of
the citizens.
 All these can result in foreign influences and negative conditions from outside the
state finding easier ways to affect the unity, sovereignty and the territorial
integrity of the country
 The reduced efficiency of the quality of medical institutions and education, the
poor ways of maintaining values and culture of the country can weaken the
capacity of the citizen to defend and protect its interests.
 As said before, it is considered a risk/threat the stealing of armament for personal
use, other than authorized by the specialized public institutions - but also the use
of toxic substances which can affect the national security by risking the health of
the citizen.

External risk factors:

 For the development of the Romanian security it is important to consolidate a
strong system of international relations.
 It is considered a risk the pressure towards national minorities which might
distort the perception outside of the Romania’s internal evolutions.
 The appearance of open conflicts or other ways that create tensions, but also
the existence of places which have high risks of political instability.
 The uncertain evolution of the ex-soviet states can result in losing control over
the nuclear armaments placed in such geographical places.
 Tension and major crises near the borders of Romania can destabilize
Romania by the apparition of refugees and can cause economic decline
(because of conflicts, international relations of the states can be interrupted)

Nevertheless, despite all the risks and threats Romania was facing at that time, its future
predicted a lot of opportunities and advantages.
The creation of institutions such as SRI, SIE and SPP started to encourage the
maintenance of the Romanian security – national security (SRI), obtaining information from
outside the country for the national security (SIE) or the protection of the Romanian and
foreign officials (SPP).
After 1994, Romania was to become a factor of democratic stability, and therefore all
the states would become equal partners in the process of stability and integration of the whole
NATO played a very important role in the Romanian security – the “Partnership for
Peace” project being a major initiative and an important step that NATO took towards a
European security system.
Romania will actively cooperate with European organizations and institutions such as
the EU, the European Council, NATO or the UN, working towards the insurance of peace
and prosperity.
Romania will also develop collaboration reports and friendship with the states next to
it, the states belonging to the “Partnership for Peace, to speed up the process of creating an
European security system.
Another important opportunity that Romania was about to face was the participation
with its military personnel at the UN to maintain peace.
The intensification of the multilateral relations Romania has with the Republic of
Moldova, their process of economic, legislative and cultural integration are meant to
contribute towards the innate links between the two Romanian states – a wish that is to be
fulfilled even nowadays.

Romania’s national interst after 1989

– In order to discuss the national interest of a country, we should firstly define it.
– National Interest: a fundamental concept in our foreign policy orientation,
representing the central stream in diplomacy. We are not talking only about a certain
interest, but an amount of interests contributing to the enforcement of security on the
one hand and welfare, on the other hand. Samuel Huntington: „national interest is a
public good that concerns all of us...combining security with material needs, moral
and ethical ones”.
– After 1989, Romania witnessed a great sense of relief as the country emerged from
under a communist rule. Still, the country was dominated by uncertainty, fear and
instability after events such as the Mineriades of 1990 and 1991. The citizens were
willing to return to the European family and reduce the gaps between our country and
the West.
– Fundamenal national interests: a long-term development of Romania, in conditions of
stabilty, as a pillar for consolidating a free society; our development as a national,
unitary, sovereign, indepedent and indivizible state, by consolidating the State of Law
and social stability; development of a dynamic and competitive market economy, as a
basis of attaining our general welfare; assuring the prosperity of Romanian society, in
order to allow a proper functioning of a social protection system; full exercise of the
basic rights and liberties, stipulated by our Constitution; the development of culture
and spiritual life in accordance with the traditional values; environment protection;
affirmation of the state as a regional factor of stabilty and its contribution to a
worldwide peace climate.
– In order to reach our national interests, there is a need for consolidating (from a
structural and functional point of view) of the constitutional framework of the state,
public institutions, central and local authorities, social and political pluralism. Also,
the efficiency of the economical and structural reform and the reduction of the
transition period are key-points. Strengthening our relationships with the Western
democratized states and their institutions would create a favorable framework for
promoting our national interests. Modernizing the military assets, necessary as
Romania maight face some situations of instability and conflict in the region;
transpose the Peace Partnership into practice.
– Main objectives: accession to NATO and the European Union, resulting in the
creation of an European security and collective defense system. Some progress made
in the political domain, still not enough in the economical one, law enforcement or
human rights. Accession delayed for 2004, respectively 2007. All in all, Romania
targeting the integration in the Euro-Atlantic structures, continue its Western road and
distance itself from Russia.

Similarities and diferences between the two case studies

– The obvious similarity between these two studies is the fact that they take into
account and discuss concepts such as national safety, national security, national
interest or geo-strategy. They attempt to explain us how Romania is positioned around
these concepts and what do they mean, in our vision.
– From a structural perspective, there are some clear differences between these two
texts: if the National Safety Law from 1991 is a legal act, structured in chapters and
paragraphs, therefore a pre-established, inflexible format, the second text on the
Concept of National Security is much more a descriptive one, historically rooted. If
the first text discusses the rights and the duties of Romanian citizens, the second one
argues on the fundamental interests of Romania, the post-1989 geopolitical situation
and the risk factors for our national security, bringing in also an extensive national
security strategy. Arguments in the second text, well-grounded and strongly
connected to the certain context.
The impact of international security on drafting national securities directorates
The world context was marked by the aftermath of the Cold War and the world’s
transition from one era to another, characterized by globalization, fluidity and uncertainty. It
was in this context that Romania started its transition from communism to democracy. Given
the instability of the international security environment, it became obvious that there was a
dire need of coherent and viable security policies. This instability was emphasised by the
situation of Romania’s neighbour states. It was also a period in which some countries around
its territory were beginning to disintegrate, while others were being transformed or reformed.
 Brief discussion on the situation of neighbour states;

If we are to look at the act from 1994, it clearly makes reference to the instability of states
and borders as an external threatening factor for Romania. The act refers specifically to the
situation in Yugoslavia, a situation that might have proven threatening if it were to expand to
our country as part of a strategy to weaken the Balkan area. Its strategies also took into
consideration certain factors that had been caused by previous events, such as a potential
huge income of refugees and economic consequences due to interrupted relationships with
states we had previously partnered. Also, in drafting its strategies, Romania took into
consideration the activities and decisions of CFE, UEO, NATO, CSCE and ONU.
 Brief description of the named organization;

 Comparison between 1994’s act and the decree of NATO regarding the four security

The desire to be an integrated part of the European Union had a huge impact for our
country in which the leadership or the decision making power went from too few (one party)
to the many (numerous parties with clashing ideas) and as such they looked for guidance to
the European policies.

What other policy options can you identify for Romania during this period? Would they
have proven more profitable?
Events of different kinds shape the world that we live in and although they have
different degrees of predictability, it would be hard to foresee and adapt the security strategy
in order to have the desired outcome. Seeing as the number of factors that influence a state’s
trajectory is impossible to estimate it would also be impossible to tell if another choice would
have bettered Romania as a state.
 Relevant statements that define Romania’s options; e.g. Alexey Makarin
(Center for Political Technologies in Moscow) : “in this situation, Russia has a
window of opportunity. Unlike the EU, with its antagonisms between member
states, Russia exerts a single political will, Russia provides lucrative and
concrete economic project to its neighbours, not mere hopes for integration in
a distant future” .

Another question that is very important is :

Have these two first security strategies shaped the future of the Romanian security
strategy? Was Romania drawing a line in the sand?
And if we are to take into consideration the fact that from that moment on, Romania took on
a task and followed a path that more or less had the same one goal, namely the integration in
the EU and NATO, we may be inclined to believe that one step led to another.