Visit. The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, visited, on Thursday, together with the Romanian Prime Minister, Nicolae Ciuca, and the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, the 1st Training Battalion in Caracal (south). About 200 soldiers from Portugal are training there, deployed this year in Romania to consolidate NATO's southeastern flank. President Iohannis said that Bucharest and Lisbon are successfully coordinating to strengthen defense in the Black Sea region, but also on NATO's southern flank. He recalled that in 2014, after the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation, an extensive process of adapting the alliance to a volatile and unpredictable security environment began. Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa stressed that the conflict in Ukraine after Russia's invasion on February 24th has brought about major changes in Europe's security and that on that day his country approved the deployment of forces in Romania to strengthen NATO's presence on the Eastern flank. In his turn, Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca thanked Portugal for its substantial contribution to the multinational structures in Romania, but also for its participation in the measures of increased vigilance in Romania.
Defense. France has deployed a state-of-the-art ground-to-air defense system in Romania in the face of the threats posed by the conflict in Ukraine, the General Staff of the French Armed Forces announced on Thursday. This system, called Mamba, can provide a bubble of protection for the benefit of the forces operating in the area and is, above all, meant to protect the NATO air base, which houses several thousand soldiers, explained Colonel Pascal Yanni, the French General Staff spokesperson. The French armed forces have been present in Romania since February 26.
NATO. US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that Finland and Sweden had met all the criteria to join NATO. In a speech at the White House, alongside Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, the day after the two countries officially applied for NATO membership, Joe Biden announced that he would ask Congress to approve their candidacies "as soon as possible". Previously reluctant to give up their historic neutrality, the two Scandinavian countries decided to join the North Atlantic Alliance after the Russian army invaded Ukraine on February 24th.
Moldova. The European Parliament on Thursday adopted the annual report on the implementation of the EU-Moldova association agreement, which includes a call on the EU to provide more strategic support to Chisinau after applying for EU membership. According to an EP statement, in the context of a deteriorating security environment, the war in Ukraine has disproportionately affected neighboring Moldova. Its economy has been affected by the loss of import and export opportunities and the rapid rise in energy prices, and the Republic of Moldova has also received the largest number of Ukrainian refugees compared to its population than any other country, putting enormous pressure on its public services. Motivated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the official request of Moldova's accession to the EU on March 3 has been welcomed by MEPs, as it confirms the European path of that country.
Tennis. Romanian tennis player Irina Bara (114 WTA) will compete in the Roland Garros tournament after defeating on Thursday in qualifiers the Japanese Nao Hibino (215 WTA ), 7-6 (5), 6-4. On Friday, the Romanian player Mihaela Buzărnescu (118 WTA) will face the Swedish Mirjam Bjorklund (150 WTA) in the last round of the qualifiers for the Grand Slam. Simona Halep, Sorana Cîrstea, Gabriela Ruse, Irina Begu and Ana Bogdan are already qualified. (MI)