Image by SGT Bernell Hall, via Wikimedia Commons. Accessed 15.03.2018
As result of Romania’s recent economic growth, last year the government announced that it would invest 2% of its GDP in the defence sector, as recommended by NATO. In May 2017, parliament approved an army modernisation program to cover the period between 2017 and 2026 – a financial commitment valued at €9.3 billion.
Most of the defence contracts to be funded are being carried out by state-owned military companies. Although there is little doubt that the priorities of the defence sector modernisation programme are inextricably tied to the national security priorities of the state, there is an interesting development in terms of the level of political influence being exerted - not only over defence sector priorities, but how these are translated and implemented by state-owned military companies.
As the ruling party, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) is inevitably the most influential political actor in the defence sector. Based on recent developments associated with the PSD manipulating political institutions to reinforce its influence throughout the country, there are concerns that the military industry could be hijacked by PSD elite as another avenue through which their political power is reinforced.