Bucharest will continue to strengthen its role inside the European family, boost trans-atlantic relation and consolidate the existing strategic partnerships.
By Titus Corlatean, Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Year 2013 was marked by the dynamism of international relations, in a complex political and diplomatic context. The intensity of diplomatic contacts will continue this year too, at a steady pace, with the priority objective being to consolidate Romania’s European and international profile and to continue the process of modernisation and reform.
This is the spirit that characterised the Romanian diplomacy in 2013 and this is how it will continue to act in 2014.
The agenda of priorities of Romania’s foreign policy includes constant actions aimed at strengthening the role of Romania both in the European and Euro-Atlantic families, by consolidating the strategic partnerships of cooperation. On one hand, there are priorities related to bilateral and multilateral relations – the activity of Romania within international organisations, and on the other, the particular attention granted to regional cooperation. At European scale, Romania supports the implementation of the measures that will lead to economic growth, the reduction of unemployment, especially among youths, important priorities mentioned by the new presidency of the Council of the European Union, secured by Greece. Also in the context of the Hellenic Presidency of the EU, Romania aims at increasing the visibility of the Black Sea on the regional cooperation agenda. The European Commission organised, at the end of January, in Bucharest, the conference “Sustainable development of the blue economy of the Black Sea”, under the patronage of the European commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki. The event was a good opportunity to promote the integrated strategies of regional cooperation at the Black Sea and in the Danube Region (SUERD).
As regards the North-Atlantic Alliance, Romania entered, alongside the other allies, the final phase of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. Romania will maintain its commitment to the stability and security of the region, as it intends to participate, jointly with the other members and partners of NATO, in the mission of assisting and training the security forces of Afghanistan (“Resolute Support”).
The NATO Summit of September 2014, held in the United Kingdom, and the anti-missile shield of the North-Atlantic Alliance, set in place under the bilateral Romanian-American project, represent significant points of the foreign policy agenda for 2014.
Within the Eastern Partnership, Romania grants a particular importance to the decisions of the Vilnius Summit, with accent on finalising and enforcing the contractual framework with the best performing partner states, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia. Supporting the European way of the Republic of Moldova by signing the Accord of Association and liberalising the visa regime as soon as possible will remain among the major priorities of Romania’s foreign policy.
Romania holds, until the end of June, the acting Presidency of the South-East European Cooperation Process, the most important form of regional cooperation. Jointly with the Greek Presidency of the EU, Romania supports the advancing of the enlargement process: in January, Serbia has initiated the negotiations of accession and at the middle of the year we expect a positive decision in view of granting the candidate statute to Albania.
The strategic partnership with the USA represents the cornerstone of the Romanian foreign policy. We are interested to deepen and expand it, as a guarantee for the democratic, stable and prosperous future of Romania. Together with the EU and NATO membership, this is the most important global-scale partnership of Romania, and Romania will remain the same dedicated ally of the USA, profoundly interested in continuing the grand projects, with important political, strategic or economic implications.
An important point of the bilateral agenda remains the inclusion of Romania in the Visa Waiver programme. Significant steps in this direction were made in 2013, by reducing the rejection rate of visa applications submitted by Romanian citizens wishing to travel to the United States. We remain firmly committed to advancing the bilateral relation with Canada, in view of eliminating the visas for the Romanian citizens who travel to Canada.
With regard to the relations with the Russian Federation, we develop the dialogue starting from the desideratum of intensifying the bilateral interaction in the fields with high potential of cooperation. We want to develop the economic relation with the Russian Federation and to have a courageous and constructive approach in discussing themes which, once unblocked, will give a big impetus to bilateral relations.
We also grant much importance to relaunching the partnerships with the strategically relevant states of Asia-Pacific, to reinvigorating the traditional political partnerships, with a particular emphasis on promoting the business and investment opportunities, as well as Romania exports with countries whose economies are in full development.
Coming to the energy security, in 2014 we will continue the promotion efforts abroad, in relation to creating an integrated and safe regional energy market, which is an internal and European objective. At an inter-regional level, Romania plans to expand its contacts with foreign partners by identifying the best solutions to diversify the energy supply of the European market. Romania will remain active in operationalizing the Southern Corridor, a European energy initiative that will create long-lasting partnerships with the energy producers of the Caspian region.
In the relation with China, we will focus on materialising the projects agreed upon during the visits paid in 2013 by the prime minister of Romania to Beijing and by the premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China to Bucharest, as well as during the Summit of the cooperation China – the states of Central and Eastern Europe, hosted by Bucharest in 2013. In 2014 we will mark the 65th anniversary of the establishing of diplomatic relations and a decade since the signing of the Comprehensive Partnership of friendship and cooperation with the People’s Republic of China.
The calendar of visits includes important points for the support of Romania’s interests of political, economic and cultural cooperation. Visits will continue to Europe and many other spaces, along with receiving the ministers of Foreign Affairs who already announced their visits to Bucharest. In the first quarter of this year we had scheduled the official visits of the head of the Romania diplomacy to Slovakia, Italy/Vatican, Croatia and Spain and received in Bucharest the Foreign Affairs minister of the Netherlands and the Palestinian minister of Foreign Affairs, who attended the proceedings of the Romanian-Palestinian Intergovernmental Committee.
In 2014, the Romanian diplomacy will continue in the same active spirit, worthy of supporting the active promoting of Romania at European, regional and global scale.