Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
“Although Europe is not in the most suitable mood for celebration nowadays, we should certainly not give in to a dispirited state of mind and allow gloom steal the atmosphere.
These are beyond doubt difficult times that impose austerity and restraint, on many levels. But restraint should not be confused with euroscepticism and with a lack of trust in some of Europe’s most ambitious projects.
Europe Day is first of all a commemoration. A commemoration of a great idea and of the admirable personalities who thought it and established, for the future generations, a sustainable political and social model that is continually adapted to new and changing circumstances.
But what we commemorate is not only a particular historical moment. Europe Day is first of all a great opportunity to ponder on a whole intellectual tradition, rooted in the continent’s history and conscience: the idea of European unity. It is an idea that stirred the imagination of some of Europe’s most fecund minds, from writers and philosophers to visionary statesmen.
Both the merit and the genius of the Union’s founding fathers was that, while firmly seated in this tradition, they realized that Europe’s problems could only be solved by creating the institutional premises for putting that great idea into practice. We can define their spirit with the words of the American State Secretary Dean Acheson, who described Jean Monnet, the main architect of the European Union, as “someone with a pragmatic view of Europe’s need to escape its historical parochialism.”
The Schuman declaration was thus a giant leap in the direction of a union of European states. We can confidently say that it was the European Union’s blueprint. A text that remains a paragon of visionary conceptual innovations, on one hand, and of pragmatic institution-building, on the other. A document that proposed practical and ingenious solutions to historically rooted and apparently unsurpassable differences.
Therefore, Europe Day should conjure up, above all, the memory of our founding fathers and their conceptual and institutional legacy. While the outward symbols of celebration have their own place, what we should focus on is the substance of the founding fathers’ political heritage, which can be used as a source of inspiration, especially in difficult times like the present ones.
The Schuman Declaration is an extraordinary example of how the principle of solidarity can be effectively employed in dealing with Europe’s challenges.
When using already clichéd expressions like “unprecedented crisis” etc., we tend to forget that the Schuman Declaration was drafted in the aftermath of a destructive world war, when the debris and rubble and millions of deaths were still a fresh memory.
In the spirit of the Union’s founders, we should look ahead and try to find working solutions together. And, despite some observers noting nothing except squabbling and discord among the European leaders or the EU institutions, we are actually sitting at the same table discussing, with civility and good-will, about the best ways to deal with the crisis and remove the causes that lead to it.
As far as Romania is concerned, we are determined to remain a pro-active EU Member State. The projects we initiated – such as the Danube Strategy and the Black Sea Synergy – are meant to produce palpable benefits for all the actors involved.
At the same time and in the same spirit, we will continue to advocate strongly for the strengthening of the European Neighborhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership, respectively. We especially emphasize the importance of a pragmatic, results-oriented approach, based on differentiation and positive conditionality.
If we are to accomplish Jean Monet’s ideal of citizens working “beyond their differences and national boundaries”, we need a fully integrated Europe. A decisive step towards Romania’s full integration is the accession to the Schengen area. We are ready and prepared to assume this responsibility in 2011.
The European Union was institutionally founded on a very simple and practical principle: that of the common management of resources. I strongly believe that the founding fathers would see, in the contemporary context, the importance, for Europe’s security and economic development, of the energy sector. In the same logic, we actively promote EU projects like Nabucco, meant to diversify the energy routes and sources.
To those who would be tempted to accuse us of over-optimistic discourse, we would retort by paraphrasing our founding fathers: “We are not optimistic; we are determined.” And we would also dare to propose as a motto for our common efforts Jean Monet’s inspiring advice: “Continue, continue, there is no future for the people of Europe other than in union.”