The defense, which in 2004 is based on general military duty with an initial service of twelve months, comprises 97,000 men and is organized into ten brigades, one of which is an air landing brigade, seven frigates/fighters, 38 patrol boats and 105 fighter aircraft. The material is semi-modern of Soviet and domestic origin. The reserves amount to about 100,000 men and the semi-military security forces to about 80,000 men.
Romania applied for membership in NATO in 1997 and became a member in 2004. During the period 1996–2001, defense costs stood at 2.5% of GDP. Romania participates in a number of UN peacekeeping efforts, including with 100 men in Bosnia and Herzegovina (SFOR II) and additionally in Afghanistan with 400 men and in Iraq with 450 men. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that ROM stands for Romania.
Romania discharged military military duty in peacetime in 2007. The country participated in the NATO Partnership for Peace Cooperation from 1994, and became a full member of NATO in 2004. The country has restructured its military forces to participate in NATO and UN operations.
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Personnel and material
The strength of the Romanian armed forces is 69,300 active personnel, a reserve of 50,000 personnel, and a semi-military gendarmerie with 57,000 personnel (2018, IISS).
For the army, the force is 36,000 active personnel. Heavy materials include 418 tanks (260 T-55, and 158 TR-85, which are Romanian license-produced modernized T-55 variants), 139 storm tanks and 851 armored personnel vehicles.
The Air Force has a strength of 10,300 active personnel. Material comprising 12 fighters of a F-16, 24 fighter of a MiG-21 Lancer (MiG-21 modernized in cooperation with Israel), two reconnaissance, 12 transport, 32 trainers and 66 helicopters.
The Navy has a strength of 650 active personnel. The fleet includes three fighters, four corvettes, 20 patrol vessels, 10 minesweepers, a minelayer, and eight auxiliary vessels.
In 2018, Romania participated in NATO operations in Afghanistan (Operation Resolute Support) with 742 personnel, in Kosovo (KFOR) with 71 personnel, and had deployed 120 personnel in Poland (Enhanced Forward Presence).
In addition, Romania participated, among others, in the EU operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR) with 48 personnel, and in UN operations, among others, the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), and South Sudan (UNMISS).
Romania also participated in Operation Inherent Resolve with 50 personnel deployed in Iraq.
Romania’s foreign policy after 1989
Romania aligned itself with Western European and Atlantic structures after the communist regime collapsed and democracy was introduced in 1989. The country gained membership in NATO in 2004 and in the EU in 2007.
Relations with NATO and the EU
Although Romania was a member of the Warsaw Pact and Comecon during the Communist era, the country had marked a more independent position with the Soviet Union since the 1960s than was usual in the Eastern bloc.
Following the fall of the Communist regime in 1989, Romania advocated for the fastest possible integration into Western European and Atlantic structures. The country joined the Council of Europe in 1993 and was the first country in Eastern Europe to sign NATO’s ” Partnership for Peace ” agreement in 1994. During NATO’s war against Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) in 1999, Romania authorized NATO to use its airspace for bombings against Yugoslavia. Romania joined NATO in 2004.
The country has close ties to the United States and from 2002 sent soldiers to the ISAF force in Afghanistan. From 2003 to 2009, Romanian soldiers were also in Iraq. During the Iraq war in 2003, the United States was allowed to use Romanian bases in the Black Sea region for the replacement of crew and equipment, and in December 2005 a formal US-Romania agreement on US military presence in Romania was signed. Later, a Romanian airbase in Deveselu in southern Romania was rebuilt and expanded to form NATO’s missile shield against medium-range missiles, it was officially opened in 2016 with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, among others.present. From NATO’s point of view, it was emphasized that the missile shield is not aimed at Russia, but rather at Iran, without reassuring Russia.
In 1999, the European Commission opened to open negotiations with Romania on EU membership. Romanian politicians saw it as desirable for the country’s economic development and political support, but at the same time felt that the EU, by area after area, demanded reforms or restructuring of political and economic structures. Since Romania and Bulgaria did not meet EU requirements on time, the two countries did not become members in 2004, when eight other countries from central and eastern Europe (besides Malta and Cyprus) became members. For Romania, the EU demanded, among other things, further reforms regarding the independence of the judiciary, intensified fight against corruption, and continued structural changes in business, such as increased privatization in the energy and transport sectors.
In spring 2005, the European Parliament approved the membership agreement between Romania and the EU. The same happened for Bulgaria. The agreement was formally signed in Luxembourg in April 2005. Romania joined the EU on 1 January 2007. The country held for the first time the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2019.
It was expected that Romania, together with Bulgaria from 2011, would join the Schengen cooperation. Romania felt that all conditions had been met, but the Netherlands and Finland vetoed the fall of 2011 on the grounds that Romania and Bulgaria had not progressed far enough in fighting corruption and organized crime, even though the technical conditions for membership were fulfilled. Finland later stated its opposition to including Romania and Bulgaria in the Schengen cooperation.
Relations with neighboring countries
The relationship with Hungary has at times been somewhat tense because of the minority issue, there is a large Hungarian minority in Romania and a small Romanian minority in Hungary. But both countries have endeavored to maintain an open dialogue, and cooperation measures, including in the military field, have been initiated. A 1996 agreement between the two countries includes both terms for the minorities and assurances that the borders are fixed.
Many in Romania found it unreasonable that the Republic of Moldova and Romania were not merged into one country by the fall of Communism, as it was before the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia in 1940, and as it happened with East Germany (GDR) and West Germany. But neither the Romanian government nor the authorities of Moldova have worked for a reunion. Romania has also emphasized expanded cooperation with Moldova in many sectors, and sees an approach between Moldova and the EU as an important strategy for closer relations between Romania and Moldova.
In relation to Ukraine, there have been disagreements about the terms of the Romanian minority in Bukovina and southern Bessarabia, about the right of dominion over the Snake Island with the surrounding maritime territory and over the continental shelf in the Black Sea. The island had to be surrendered to the Soviet Union (Ukraine) in 1948, without being stipulated in the post-war peace treaty.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Romania and Ukraine left the International Court of Justice in The Hague to settle the dispute over the Snake Island. In a February 2009 ruling, Romania was granted the right of domination over approximately 80 percent of the disputed maritime territory (the extent of the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone). The island itself remained Ukrainian territory.
The relationship with Bulgaria is good, and the countries have cooperated on bridge projects across the Danube, which are the boundary rivers between them.
Romania and Serbia have traditionally had a good relationship, although Romania during NATO’s 1999 war against Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) opened its airspace for NATO’s aircraft. Romania had not yet joined NATO, but wanted membership. Romania is also one of the EU countries that has not recognized Kosovo as an independent state. In the Banat area, which is located in both countries, there are minorities of Serbs on the Romanian side of the border and Romanians on the Serbian side, none of them are particularly large.
In relation to Russia, hidden Russian support for the Transnistria separatists (the easternmost part of Moldova) has been a problem, but also Russian unrest over some of Romania’s US-friendly commitments, not least Romania’s 2016 participation in NATO’s missile shield through the military base in Deveselu.