Romania and Bulgaria to Host Greater NATO Presence in the Black Sea Region

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, May 12, 2016NATO member state officials meeting in Brussels agreed to boost the alliance’s military presence along its entire eastern flank from Bulgaria to the Baltics.

Romania and Bulgaria will both host an increased air force presence, designed to undertake surveillance missions over the Black Sea….

“Countries for the first time have expressed a willingness to financially participate to supporting security arrangements on the northeast flank [of NATO] as well as our Black Sea region,” Romanian Defence Minister Mihnea Motoc noted after the meetings.

Besides Romanian and Bulgarian airbases hosting NATO troops and aircraft, Romania is to also host a regional air force training centre. Starting next year, Romania also hopes to head a multinational force at the Black Sea….

Britain also announced on Wednesday that it would send Typhoon fighter jets to Romania next year and the US promised troops, tanks and artillery to Poland. Romania already hosts a US missile defence system at Deveselu, in southern Romania.

Canada and Poland will also send aircraft to Romania. The aircraft would be hosted in the southeastern Mihail Kogalniceanu military airport and will police NATO’s southeast flank.

“The political decision is to task the allied forces to come up by the end of January with proposals on two basic elements for the maritime component – a strengthened training framework and a coordination body for the Black Sea that reports to the specialized NATO command,” Romania’s Motoc said after the Brussels meeting. Talks will be held on this in February 2017….

Bulgarian defence minister Nikolai Nenchev on Wednesday said Sofia and Bucharest would work together and define their takes on the increased NATO deployment in the Black Sea by December.

I was against negotiating with Romania and Turkey on this aspect. Such a decision, if it is taken, should be made by NATO; it shouldn’t come from different countries in the Alliance. That is fair,” he said in Brussels. “We’ll meet in December to clarify the matter,” the minister added.

While the naval brigade is still on the agenda, Bulgaria has agreed to participate with 400 troops in the multinational brigade in Romania.

Image: Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, May 12, 2016 (photo: NATO)