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The first Parliamentary Summit of the Bucharest Format (B9) started this Wednesday

The national legislatures of the countries making up the Bucharest Format (B9) have an essential role to play in the equitable sharing of burdens inside NATO, especially because of their specific part in approving budgets to support a more ambitious common defence and security approach, Romania's President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday in the opening speech at the first B9 parliamentary summit.

He underscored that Romania's commitment to allocate 2 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for defence spending starting in 2017 highlights the importance of effective collaboration among all institutional actors - the President, Parliament and the Government.

He also mentioned that the sharing of security benefits comes with the sharing of burdens and that this principle must be understood by the society as a whole, in which context the essential role of the national parliaments occurs.

According to the president, the B9 format has been strengthened in a very useful informal security dialogue platform among NATO's eastern flank countries, which have also become beneficiaries of allied deterrence and active contributors to Euro-Atlantic security in its entirety.

The head of state added that the NATO summit in Brussels this year will mark a new stage in the process of adapting the alliance to the current security challenges and threats. He pointed out that, in preparation for this meeting, the summit of the Bucharest format in Warsaw this June, which he will co-chair with the President of Poland, Andrei Duda, will play a very important role. Iohannis said that Romania strongly supports the development of the partnership between NATO and the European Union.

"I trust that at this year's NATO Summit we will reiterate by concrete actions and decisions the unity and solidarity of the allies, as well as the value of a strong transatlantic relationship. I am convinced that the decisions we will adopt in Brussels in July will make NATO a stronger alliance, and Romania will remain the same ally and trustworthy, responsible partner, fully committed to NATO projects to strengthening regional and international security," Iohannis said.