NATO’s Border Post: Romania

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Under Vladimir Putin, Russia has achieved political stability in domestic politics and inherited the tradition of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In fact, more than this tradition, Russia has been concerned about its security due to the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) towards its borders and has made many moves against it.

In this context, it challenged the place of the United States of America (USA) in the global system. After various foreign policy moves, it eventually went to war with Ukraine. Although there were different driving forces, one of the main motivations for the Russia-Ukraine War was Russia’s desire to intimidate both Europe and the United States. With the war, Russia, Europe’s energy supplier, cut off its energy supply and caused an energy crisis in Europe. In this scope, many European states were concerned both in terms of security and sovereignty. One of these states is Romania.

Energy is currently the sine qua non of industrial production. After Russia cut off energy supplies to Europe, many European states have suffered economically. Although the Romanian economy is improving day by day, the Romanian industry, where seasonally adjusted industrial production plays an important role, has entered a downward trend in the five-year industrial plan.[1]

Romania has made various moves in order to overcome the energy deficit in Europe and to become the energy supplier of Europe. From this point of view, it is possible to say that Romania does not want to be dependent on Russia and wants to become self-sufficient in energy and to increase its influence in the region by exporting energy to Europe.

Israel’s Shikun and Binui Energy will build a solar power plant in Romania, which has taken both national and international initiatives in this context.[2] With global warming and climate change, which has already become an important debate, Romania’s move is also very important for sustainable energy. It can be argued that Russia is uncomfortable with this initiative of Romania, which is expected to increase its energy importance in Europe in the coming period. Energy is a very important foreign policy trump card for Russia.

Seeking to turn the energy crisis in Europe in its favor, Romania has emphasized that it is against Russia in almost every aspect. This attitude of Romania was not only limited to economic moves, but also led to various military steps. The Bucharest administration has made various moves to increase its influence in the region by developing various collaborations with its allies.

In this context, it can be said that Romania’s dialog with both the European Union (EU) and NATO has strengthened. One of the effects of the Russia-Ukraine War is that it accelerated European integration. Since European states with various concerns wanted to act jointly in foreign and security policies, there have been many moves to increase the EU’s sphere of influence in the region. In this context, Brussels’ relations with Bucharest have also improved.

At a time when there were many driving forces to give Romania economic and political incentives, its admission to Schengen became an important agenda item for the EU.[3] Considering the national interests of the states and their different policies, Austria does not support this process. However, it is highly likely that this process will gain momentum due to the EU’s collective interests.

The dose of tensions in the international system has increased with the aforementioned war. Romania, which moves against Russia, one of the main actors in these tensions, is improving its relations with the United States every day. Therefore, the relations between Bucharest and Moscow are deteriorating day by day.

On the other hand, the United States is cooperating with NATO member states in order to prevent a possible Russian victory. Romania’s military moves are particularly critical in this regard. Romania, which has proven to be an important ally for NATO and has assumed the role of a border outpost against Russia, has hosted many military exercises. The US has a relatively comfortable maneuvering space through Romania to reach the Black Sea. Therefore, it has launched its drones from Romania, but in the latest incident, one of these drones was shot down by a Russian warplane in the Black Sea.[4]

As expected, the relations between the two actors have been relatively strengthened as their relations with Russia have worsened. In addition, the US Senate, which partners with Romania on many issues, passed legislation recommending the inclusion of Romania in the visa waiver program in order to strengthen relations with Romania, which is a very close partner for the US. [5]

However, the Bucharest administration has recently increased its influence in Europe by strengthening both military and political dialogues. In particular, Romania has accelerated its steps towards armament and has received significant support from the US through NATO.

It is obvious that all of these steps were taken with the aim of preventing a possible Russian victory. In particular, the alliance between the US and Romania is likely to have both military and political repercussions in the global system.

Aware of Russia’s negative attitude towards all these moves, Romania will lead a multinational military exercise in the Black Sea and Danube in the coming days to show how strong it is militarily and to intimidate its rival.[6]

Ultimately, Romania is trying to increase its importance in the region by turning the energy crisis in Europe in its favor. In this direction, the country has strengthened its relations with the EU and has undertaken and is undertaking many joint initiatives with NATO on the military side. While Romania’s policy has strengthened its relations with the US, it has damaged its relations with Russia. Especially after the downing of the drone, the escalation of tensions has reached a worrying point. Nevertheless, it is possible to state that Romania has become one of the critical actors in the “Cold War 2.0”.

[1] “Romanya’nın Endüstrisi Beş Yıllık Düşüşe Yakın”, Romania İnsider,, (Date of Accession: 15.03.2023).

[2] “İsrailli Shikun ve Binui Energy, Romanya’nın Kuzeybatısında Güneş Enerjisi Santrali İnşa Edecek”, Romania İnsider,, (Date of Accession: 15.03.2023).

[3] “Romanya, Avusturya’nın Devam Eden Muhalefetine Rağmen Bu Yıl Schengen’e Katılmayı Hedefliyor”, Romania İnsider,, (Date of Accession: 10.03.2023).

[4] “Rus Jetiyle Karşılaştıktan Sonra Karadeniz’e Düşen ABD İHA’sının Romanya’dan Havalandığı Bildirildi”, Romania İnsider,, (Date of Accession: 15.03.2023).

[5] “Romanya’nın ABD Senatosu’nun Gündemindeki Vize Muafiyet Programına Dahil Edilmesini Öneren Yasa”, Romania İnsider,, (Date of Accession: 16.03.2023).

[6] “Romanya Önderliğindeki Büyük Çaplı Çok Uluslu Askeri Tatbikat Önümüzdeki Hafta Karadeniz ve Tuna’da Başlayacak”, Romania İnsider,, (Date of Accession: 16.03.2023).