Macron: NATO troops in Romania are a “powerful deterrent”
“Nobody knows what awaits us in the weeks and months to come, but we will do everything possible to end the Russian invasion, to help the Ukrainians and to continue negotiations,” Macron told the eastern air base. by Mihail Kogalniceanu. , where he was welcomed by Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca.
In a brief address to French soldiers deployed on the NATO base, Macron praised them for “honouring our commitment to defend Europe as war begins again”.
France has about 500 troops deployed in Romania and was a key player in building up NATO forces on the alliance’s eastern flank after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. In May, France deployed an air defense system to Romania that NATO said “can provide protection for forces operating in the area.
In the long term, Macron said “we must be able to protect ourselves” and went on to say that NATO’s multinational battle group in Romania – which includes French, Belgian and American military personnel – will serve as a “powerful deterrent “on the eastern flank of Europe. .
On Wednesday, Macron will meet Romanian President Klaus Iohannis at the air base for official talks ahead of a European Council meeting in Brussels, as well as a key NATO ‘Strategic Concept’ summit in Madrid later. this month.
French spokeswoman Olivia Grégoire said Macron would have to deal with the consequences of the war in Ukraine, from the influx of Ukrainian refugees to soaring energy prices and disruptions in world grain markets.
He will also discuss Ukraine and Moldova’s demands to join the EU ahead of an EU summit next week, she said. France currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Macron “will underline the importance of the strength of the European project in these troubled times”, she said.
After Romania, Macron will travel to Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, where he will meet President Maia Sandu.
Sylvie Corbet in Paris and Barbara Surk in Nice, France, contributed to this report.