Romania's Ambassador to the US George Maior insists in an interview with HotNews.ro (link - Ro.) on the political and strategic importance of talks on energy and 5G tech issues at a meeting between Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and US leader Donald Trump earlier this week. He also speaks of "encouraging signs" from Trump on the issue of American visas for Romanian nationals.
Asked at one point about his interest in returning to Romanian politics, Maior - who has long been an influential figure and has served as head of the Romanian Intelligence Service SRI for 8 years, said he would not exclude any option.
- He gave the interview on the margins of President Iohannis' visit to the US where he met President Trump on Tuesday. The talks covered the strategic partnership between the two countries, security and a series of issues ranging from energy interests in the Black Sea and a memorandum on 5G technologies. More on the Trump-Iohannis meeting
Asked about the memorandum and the extent to which Romania can count on Chinese companies like Huawei for critical 5G infrastructure in the context of US warnings to their allies, Ambassador Maior says that:
- the memorandum is a politcal document covering cooperation policies which may change or even revolutionaise elements of statehood and people's living. He depicted the memorandum as "good because this new technologic era would affect our lives positively for decades to come and it's good to have such a thing".
- the memorandum does not refer to certain states or companies but to corporate standards of transparency, ethics
Asked about US suggestions that Romanian legislation covering offshore activities be changed, considering that Exxon has an interest in an advantageous deal in the Black Sea area, Ambassador Maior said:
- At the level of presidential talks there were no mentions to legislation. They were strategic talks aimed at a better cooperation for both states, starting with common objectives. The first of these would be energy independence and, when not talking about independence, a dramatic reduction of dependency to other energy sources.
- When it comes to the Black Sea, Exxon has made major investments in exploration for the past years and would have to make a decision on exploitation, which we hope would be positive and in line with Romanian interests to use the resources for the benefit of citizens. Romania's petrochemical industry, which used to be strong, should be tackled strategically for a serious revival to better absorvbe gas quantities which can be used from the Black Sea. Otherwise, the Romanian state would talk hypothetically about using natural resources.
Asked about prospects that Romania become eligible for the US Visa Waiver program, the Ambassador said:
- the fact that President Trump - who was a vision on US national security which includes the migration issues - has made a statement of support is a "very, very good and encouraging sign for us" and Romania should be optimistic about it as the US leader does not make such statements easily.
- Secondly, all the technical criteria linked to such accords are working in Romania
- It remains to be seen what happens with legislation analysed in the Congress and Romania should insist more on criteria related to overstay (which have the country better positioned than countries already included in Visa Waiver) than on the initial rate of visa refusal.
- There is a bipartisan piece of legislation in the Congress which supports countries with a 2% of GDP defense budget and contributions to international security missions for their introduction in Visa Waiver, a piece of legislation which would cover Romania and Poland perfectly.