“Many times, the fretting international political life, with its many journeys, sessions and meetings, makes us political actors, for the sake of submitting to the rule of emergency, makes us lose sight of what great Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges was considering to be “the substance that time is made of,” and that is, the past.
Any commemoration – and this is also the case of the 130th anniversary of bilateral ties between Romania and Spain – requires some sort of memory exercise: it forces us to look at each other through the crystal mirror of the past, whose rays are projecting inquiringly on our present.
Today we are celebrating the beginning of our diplomatic relations on June 23, 1881. Nonetheless, Spain and Romania – located at the opposite ends of the Latin world, share a common history that goes back over many centuries: historians such as García de Cortázar and González Vesga have shown us that after a blooming period of time, under the rule of Spanish-born emperors Trajan and Hadrian, the Roman Hispania went through an era of slight decadence which led to a massive exodus of residents in the north of the Iberian Peninsula to the imperial borders of Dacia, mid third century AD. Those first Spanish emigrants, according to Adrian Damsescu, a professor with the Transylvania University in Brasov, left their own cultural contribution to the society that welcomed them, like all other immigrants in all times did, a contribution detectable in contemporary Romanian in the form of linguistic loans from the Basque language.
Fate sometimes has the gift of repetition and nowadays, the Spanish society welcomes over one million Romanian citizens in its midst. We the Spanish can and actually must show pride in the high level of coexistence and integration that the Romanian community in our country has reached and at the same time, we must remember that Spain was the only one of the European Union’s ‘large’ states which gave up a transition period for the free movement of people, as provided in Romania’s EU Accession Treaty.
The Spanish community in Romania, in its turn, consists of more than 500 citizens who are in this country either for family-related reasons or for business reasons. Among the latter, I must mention Spanish language teachers for the enthusiasm with which they do their jobs to make Spanish culture and language known in Romania, and Spanish businessmen for the special dynamism with which they strengthen bilateral economic ties. The consummate work conducted both by the Cervantes Institute and by university lectors and bilingual department instructors workers have their business world correspondents in the more than 5,000 companies with Spanish capital set in Romania.
In the economic sector, especially in the context of a generalized drop in foreign investment in Romania, Spanish companies invested EUR 1,063 million last year, which is EUR 342 million more than in 2009.
Throughout 2010, the high levels of trade reported in previous years were gradually achieved once again, after suffering a severe drop in 2009. Thus, Romanian exports to Spain continued to grow and exceeded those of the previous year by 32 per cent, getting to EUR 1,042 million. In their turn, Spanish exports grew by 30 per cent, getting to the sum of EUR 873 million.
To conclude my message, I wish to signal the fact that the anniversary of 130 years since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties is not and cannot be an end point. It must be, like I have already said above, a reason for meditation, for evaluating everything that has united us and continues to unite us; and starting from these, it must also serve as an additional reason to strengthen and give impetus to our bilateral ties.
This is the only requirement that our especially rich common history imposes upon us.”