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March 23, 2023

‘We treat every aspect of our NATO membership in the most responsible way’ (II)

Interview with Foreign Affairs Minister Teodor Baconschi.

China and Japan are two most important states of the world, in terms of both economy and politics. What approach will Bucharest have in its effort to get closer to these two economic superpowers?

Over the past few years, we have developed a very good political dialogue with these two countries. In October 2009 the Vice President of China, Xi Jinping, made a visit to Romania, and President Basescu will be visiting China again in July, during Romania’s Day at EXPO Shanghai 2010.

During March 9-11 I accompanied President Basescu on an official visit to Japan, following the visit of their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino in May 2009. This visit will not only develop the political dialogue with Japan, but it also was an excellent occasion to promote an enhanced economic cooperation. The President led a numerous economic delegation for the bilateral Business Forum in Tokyo.

Though the Ministry for Foreign Affairs does not play a leading role in the economic field, we will keep doing our best to attract foreign investments, and to promote more balanced trade exchanges with China and Japan.

I would like to put a special emphasis on EXPO Shanghai 2010. Romania is building its national pavilion “Greenopolis”, and from May to the end of October we will host there an impressive number of meetings and exhibitions.

Bucharest did not always know how to get in line with Brussels. Yet, the EU remains the essence of Romanian foreign policy, together with NATO. Will Romania close the legal compliance gap?

On the 1st of March, the European Commission published its Scoreboard for the second semester of 2009. Romania ranks second with regard to the implementation of the acquis communautaire. We are also among the Member States which have the smallest number of open infringement procedures. As you can see, all is not ill.

Consequently, I don’t think that speaking about frictions in our relationship with the EU would be appropriate or true. Our relations develop in a spirit of participation, involvement and active promotion of our common interests. Romania takes part in the European decision-making process and is actively contributing to the EU agenda. We are acting together with our European partners to formulate accurate responses to the challenges the Union has to tackle: the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, economic recovery, energy security or the climate change issue.

Our main priority is to strengthen our profile as a responsible, effective and pragmatic Member State, capable to respond to the many challenges on the international stage. Regionally, Romania cuts its own distinctive profile in the fields of security and cooperation. The Danube Strategy, for instance, is relevant in this respect, and will substantially contribute both to the regional cooperation within the EU and to the development of concrete projects in the Danube region.

Together with the EU, NATO is an essential anchor for Bucharest, but Romania still finds it hard to meet its obligations, in terms of assumed military spending. On the other hand, the country proved to be a trustworthy ally in international peacekeeping missions. How will we further approach our relations with NATO?

We treat every aspect of our NATO membership in the most responsible way, and we shall continue being firmly engaged in NATO operations. As for our obligations, they are not limited to military expenses. Even so, many NATO member states contribute less than the agreed 2.38 per cent of their GDP, and the current economic crisis has not made things easier. Economic difficulties aside, we are a trusted and trustworthy NATO member. To give you only one example we have recently decided to send another 600 troops to Afghanistan.

Romania is also an active contributor to the debates concerning the New Strategic Concept of NATO, which is going to be approved at the Lisbon Summit. As you know, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs co-organised, together with Norway, Germany and Spain, the official NATO seminar on the New Strategic Concept which took place in Oslo last January.

Thank you, Your Excellency.

And many thanks to you for this opportunity to present some of the leading priorities of Romanian foreign policy.

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