H.E. Mr. Leo D’AES, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium in Bucharest
“On this very happy occasion of Belgium’s King’s Day, I first of all thank the Nine O’Clock for giving me the opportunity to give a message to the readers of this newspaper.
This year 2010 marks the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Romania and Belgium. At the same time, from 1st July to 31st December, Belgium holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, on the basis of a trio program jointly established with Spain, Hungary and the Commission.
As close partners within the EU and NATO, Romania and Belgium have continued and deepened their cooperation, in a spirit of mutual respect, learning from each other and advancing together the ideals of both organizations. Both EU and NATO are in transition: the new Lisbon treaty, and the draft New Strategic Concept, respectively, are guiding us through fundamental changes, adapting these vital organizations to new international challenges. At the same time, Belgium strives for a closer cooperation between these organizations so as to be more efficient in international operations. The development of a real Common Defense and Security Policy, as foreseen in the Lisbon Treaty, cannot be seen in isolation from such cooperation.
The EU has resolutely taken up the major challenge which concerns us all, that is, the management of the economic crisis, the drafting and implementation of an exit strategy, and the setting up of a mechanism to prevent such a crisis from recurring. We are in this all together, and pooling our resources and creativity is the best way to gradually restore trust, stability and recovery in the world economy.
Together with its partners, the Belgian presidency is not blindly aiming at growth at any costs, but rather trying to make virtue out of necessity, and steering the European economy into a green direction. The possibilities of so-called eco-business are plentiful, provided the confidence is restored, at national, European and international level.
On a worldwide level, especially within the framework of the G20, the Presidency together with its partners and the Commission are sparing no effort to help the business community see through this crisis and reestablish growth on a sound and sustainable basis, taking into account the growing burden of the ageing of the population.
The social responsibility of the EU is at least equal to its economic tasks, in terms of obligation and in terms of magnitude. The Presidency has clearly written the imperative of social cohesion into its priorities and, in close cooperation with the Commission and its partners, constantly endeavors to rightfully balance the European funds between the numerous socio-economic needs.
Apart from the international economic governance, the EU will continue to reaffirm itself as a global and decisive actor in the forthcoming negotiations on climate change, to be held in Cancun at the end of this month. The task is huge, for the future of our common habitat is at stake. We cannot afford to fail, and the Presidency will use all the means at its disposal to contribute to an honourable international agreement.
The European Union has many neighbours, and it is the duty of the Presidency to promote the implementation of the policies that have been agreed with respect to these different countries. Belgium will continue to act as an honest broker in these various aspirations, comprised in individual sets of rights and duties to be assumed by all parties involved. It is a dynamic interplay of essential interests, both of the European Union and of the third countries concerned, which Belgium takes at heart: when ever-closer cooperation is being promoted and realized, guided by mutual interest, a prosperous future is being shaped.
In the meantime, the Presidency needs to implement the EU’s institutional agenda (putting into practice the Lisbon Treaty provisions), and its broad international agenda, organizing the meetings with other major international partners like China, the United States, Brazil, Pakistan, the African countries participating in the EU-Africa Summit, and in the Middle East.
In all these vital issues, we are glad that we can count on the continued consultation and cooperation with Romania. Throughout the years and the decades, we have established a cordial and pleasant trust between our countries, our authorities and our peoples.
The small but dynamic Belgian business community in Romania is a reliable partner in Romania’s economic life. Our juridical cooperation is exemplary in its efficiency and mutual respect. Our defense cooperation has been reduced as a result of budgetary restrictions, but remains marked by collegiality and fruitful exchange of savoir-faire and best practices. Artists, writers and visiting professors are prominent players in our cultural programs.
In the field, more than thirty different groups of Belgian scouts and guides spent several weeks in Romania this summer, sharing daily life with the population in the countryside and actively entertaining children. Countless Romanian villages are bound by a multitude of truly friendly relations with their Belgian counterparts, cooperating in vital sectors such as health, education and infrastructure. The Forum on Romanian-Belgian decentralized cooperation, held in Arad in the beginning of this month, reinforced these bonds and was in itself a tribute to the numerous participants who work together in sincere friendship and solidarity.
It is a privilege and a joy to entertain this kind, warm and fruitful relationship between Belgium and Romania. “