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Scholz visits Romania to discuss Black Sea security

April 3, 2023

The German Chancellor met Romania's leaders to discuss defense cooperation in the Black Sea region. He is also set to meet Moldova's President Maia Sandu as her pro-European government faces pressure from Russia.

Olaf Scholz in Bucharest
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met with Romanian President Klaus IohannisImage: Presidency.ro

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis called for a greater NATO presence in the Black Sea while welcoming Germany's Chancellor Scholz for a short visit to Bucharest on Monday.

Scholz, Iohannis and Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca also discussed energy, security and European cooperation.

Meanwhile, Scholz welcomed the announcement of a new maintenance hub in Romania by German arms and tank manufacturer Rheinmetall, which the company said could service NATO combat vehicles.

"We are always looking at how we can advance our common concerns as Europeans and as NATO allies," he told reporters.

The German leader also said he hoped Romania would finally join the Schengen Area this year because it had met all the criteria to do so.

Moldova on the agenda

Scholz also held a joint-meeting with Iohannis and Moldovan President Maia Sandu.

He pledged Germany's support for Moldova in its drive to join the European Union.

"Moldova is part of our European family," Scholz said, "Moldova can be sure of our support on this," he added.

In turn, Moldovan President Maia Sandu appealed for Western support to defend her country against Russia

The former-Soviet republic borders both Russia and Ukraine, and Sandu it has been the target of "attempts to destabilize" the country.

"Yes, we must improve (our) defense capabilities, and yes, we need help for that, and yes, we are discussing it with partners," Sandu said. 

The meetings come as German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck also visited Ukraine to discuss rebuilding Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

lo,zc/rc (dpa, Reuters, AP)