Alexandre Vassalo, the Portuguese Ambassador to Romania
“On the 10th of June, the Portuguese people celebrate “The Day of Portugal, Camões and the Portuguese Communities”.
Unlike most other countries, Portugal’s National Day is not linked to an important historical or a political event, but to a Poet – Camões, the most emblematic one for the Portuguese Literature of all times. He was born around 1524, at a date unknown, and died in 1580, most probably on the 10th of June, according to a document found in the XIXth century. Relations between Romania and Portugal, two NATO allies at the most Western and respectively Eastern boundary of the Alliance, have been gradually enhanced during the last years, on the basis of the strong support for Romania accession to NATO and EU.
In the past years, Romania and Portugal were brought together by a number of prolific circumstances. The two countries have been developing thus a congruous connection based on the common Latin heritage, on the recent and increasing Portuguese investment in the Romanian market, the Romanian emigration to Portugal, and the growing interest in the Portuguese language and culture.
Being partners as NATO members and of the European Union, a more active and cooperating relationship has been built. Economic cooperation has been successful especially in the fields of banking, light industry, trade, electronic and electro-technical products, constructions and food processing. In the cultural area, Portugal has opened in Romania various Portuguese Language and Culture Centers, in Iasi, Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara consequently to the constant increasing interest shown by the students in high schools and universities. Also, there have been organized many cultural visits between the two countries. Both of the countries have much to offer as tourism destinations, and we hope that 2009 will be a success from this point of view.
Portugal receives each year about 12 millions of tourist attracted by our ocean beaches, our cultural monuments as well as religious attractions (Fátima). Portugal has also become a very popular destination among the golf players. And of course, we cannot forget to mention Algarve, our oldest tourism destination, with its 300 sunny days per year and its fantastic Mediterranean style beaches. Concerning Romania, I am sure Portuguese tourists will be delighted with its mountain destinations and winter sports as well as the nature attractions of the Danube Delta.
We wish that the nice collaboration of our two countries continues as it did during the last years.”