Paul Brummell, British Ambassador to Romania

Paul Brummell

Head of Soft Power and External Affairs Department, Communication Directorate

Part of UK in Romania

2nd August 2017

UK-Romania defence cooperation

Britain's Defense Secretary Michael Fallon

The UK is currently negotiating with our partners on our withdrawal from the European Union, following the outcome of the referendum in June last year. But as Prime Minister Theresa May has underlined, while we are leaving the EU we are not leaving Europe. We are determined to develop our deep and special partnerships with our friends across Europe, including Romania.

One of the areas where this can be seen most clearly is that of our defence partnership. Following the NATO Summit in Wales in 2014, a new security architecture was constructed on NATO’s eastern flank. As part of this Bucharest is hosting two new bodies, the Multinational Divisional Headquarters (South-East) and a NATO Force Integration Unit. The UK is contributing officers to both.

RAF TYPHOONS are in Romania for the first time in support of a new NATO mission.
Images By Cpl Jimmy Wise RAF

The summer of 2017 has seen the busiest period of activity in our bilateral defence engagement in recent memory. Some 1,000 British troops have been taking part in a series of land-based exercises in Romania together with their Romanian and other NATO partners. Among them was Exercise Noble Jump, part of the work of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, for which the UK has been lead nation in 2017. This tested the ability of thousands of NATO troops rapidly to deploy at a training ground in Romania after journeys of hundreds of kilometres. It was a pleasure to be able to accompany the UK Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, in visiting this multinational group and seeing the exercise in action.

I was delighted too that some of the Grenadier Guards who participated in Noble Jump stayed on for a few days in Romania, visiting British-style curriculum schools and UK-supported charities in Bucharest. They received an enthusiastic welcome and barrage of questions wherever they went, of which the latter always included: “aren’t you hot in that bearskin hat?”

Four RAF Typhoon fighters have spent the summer months at the Mihail Kogalniceanu air base just outside Constanta, working together with the aircraft of the Romanian air force in providing southern air policing for NATO, part of the alliance’s assurance measures. I have been fortunate to be able to meet the men and women of the Royal Air Force 135 Expeditionary Air Wing, who have been based in Constanta since May, on several occasions, including during visits of both the Defence Secretary and the UK Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach. All emphasised to me how much they were enjoying the warmth of Constanta, both in the sense of weather and welcome. A fly past of RAF Typhoons and Romanian Air Force F-16s at our Queen’s Birthday Party in Bucharest in June elegantly symbolised our bilateral partnership, working together in the skies above Romania to support the security of the NATO alliance.

RAF TYPHOONS They are based at Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) airbase near Constanta as part of 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW).
Images By Cpl Jimmy Wise RAF

The maritime component of our defence cooperation continues to develop apace too. I was delighted to head to the main Romanian port of Constanta this weekend for the visit of HMS Duncan, flagship of the NATO Standing Maritime Group 2, who was here working together with the Turkish frigate Yildirim and the Romanian frigate Regele Ferdinand. The latter herself started out life as HMS Coventry, one of the Royal Navy’s fine T-22 frigates, which has continued her distinguished service with the Romanian navy. This was the second visit to Romania of one of the Royal Navy’s modern T-45 destroyers this year: that of HMS Daring in the spring was accompanied by the presence of the ship’s sponsor, HRH the Countess of Wessex, with representatives of the Romanian navy and local authorities joining the officers of the ship for a traditional mess dinner.

HMS Duncan and the fourt Typhoons
HMS Duncan and the fourt Typhoons

The Romanian armed forces are valued partners within NATO, serving with distinction in Afghanistan and other peacekeeping operations. Our deepening bilateral defence cooperation reflects the growing importance of this partnership in the service of security.

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