Portillo's Nato plan falls on deaf ears in Romania

Romania yesterday insisted it ought to be among the first former Eastern bloc countries to join Nato, and rejected assurances from the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Portillo, that a phased enlargement of the alliance would not harm the country's interests.

Speaking after talks with Mr Portillo in Bucharest, Romania's Defence Minister, Gheorghe Tinca, said the idea of expanding Nato in waves was flawed and that his country feared the first wave of enlargement would turn out to be the last.

"If the idea of a wave is accepted, then I am convinced there will be just one," Mr Tinca told the daily Adevarul. Mr Portillo, on the first leg of a regional tour, said Nato would not slam the doors on further members once the first new entrants were safely on board.

Nato member states are expected to announce early next year that Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and possibly Slovenia, will be invited to join the alliance, perhaps by 1999.

Despite reforms of its armed forces, Western officials say Romania has not progressed far enough in the overall reform process to qualify for early membership and that, together with Slovakia, Bulgaria, Albania and the Baltic states, it will have to wait for a second, or a third, wave of expansion.

Bucharest fears exclusion from the alliance could pull the country into a "grey zone", in which it could once again fall under the sway of Moscow.

Romania is particularly annoyed at the prospect of Hungary joining Nato first, arguing that once it is in, Budapest may exercise a veto over Romania's membership.

In an attempt to stymie Hungary's application, the Romanian authorities have warned that any "discrimination" in Hungary's favour would lead to a climate of "competition, mistrust and instability" in the region and could even spark an arms race.

Hungary denies that it would try to block Romania's entry into Nato. It argues that as Romania has a large Hungarian minority, it would be in Hungary's interests for Bucharest to join.

tBonn - News reports say Germany and other Nato nations are planning for the alliance to extend the presence of peace- keeping forces in Bosnia past the end of the year, to prevent the renewal of conflict in the region, AP reports.

The plans do not discount placing German fighting troops in the region, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper said.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy