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February 9, 2023

High-level talks in Paris between President Klaus Iohannis and President Francois Hollande: Romania, France reaffirm political will to consolidate their strategic partnership

The strategic partnership between Romania and France is important for both countries and it has to be consolidated. This is the conclusion of the high-level talks between Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and French President Francois Hollande, during a meeting that took place on Tuesday at the Elysee Palace during the official visit that the Romanian Head of State paid to Paris.

Romania’s head of the state was greeted by his French counterpart in a friendly, cordial manner and was  welcomed with a military ceremony held at the Hotel des Invalides. He had a series of face-to-face meetings and a working lunch with President Francois Hollande, the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls also participating.

This is the second meeting taking place at the Elysee between the two heads of state, after the visit that President Iohannis paid to Paris on January 11 in order to take part in the Solidarity March against terrorism following the events that left France in mourning.

In their talks the two leaders focused on a wide range of issues, naturally tackling bilateral relations, aspects such as the Roma community in France, economic cooperation and also support for Ukraine.


For Romania the relation with France has top priority
“The bilateral relation between Romania and France, materialized through the Strategic Partnership, is not only based on its political dimension, but it is also about cooperation in some other very rich sectors. I have reaffirmed the fact that Romania treats its relation with France as a top priority and also the wish to further strengthen this relation, including within the EU. I have addressed to you an invitation, Mr. President, to pay a visit to Romania to hasten the pace in the development of bilateral relations and I hope this visit to Romania will become possible very soon,’ President Klaus Iohannis said at the Elysee Palace, where he participated in a joint press conference with his French counterpart, Francois Hollande.

He showed that the invitation extended to him by President Hollande represented ‘a strong symbol of how important the bilateral relation between Romania and France is both for Romania and the French side.’

‘I was glad that Mr. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Minister of Economy were also able to participate in the talks. I was pleased with the substantiality of the discussions that we had,’ said Iohannis.


Image of Romanians living in France


Klaus Iohannis pointed out that “an important aspect for the Romanian authorities is that of the image that Romania and the Romanian community have in France.”

“We are confident that isolated acts, when treated with lucidity and moderation, cannot have a long-lasting negative effect on a long relationship of mutual respect. I have asked President Hollande for support in combating discourses that reduce a solid relationship to clichés,” the President pointed out.

Likewise, Klaus Iohannis stated that he also asked for France’s support in what concerns Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area, stating that he hopes that a positive decision in this sense would be taken as soon as possible.


France’s support for Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area


“I have asked for France’s support for Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area. I have expressed my confidence that such a positive decision concerning Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area can be adopted as soon as possible. We have also talked about the priorities of the anti-terrorist fight at European level, with there being an enhancement of joint efforts in combating the phenomenon, and hence of cooperation and coordination,” Iohannis said.

Iohannis revealed that other priorities for our country and for France were also considered, such as the fight against terrorism, the situation in Ukraine, as well as the Republic of Moldova’s rapprochement with the EU and the successful implementation of the Association Agreement.

“I will continue to consider the relationship with France a priority from which the need to ensure a permanent and very good dialogue will naturally flow,” President Klaus Iohannis added.


Hollande: We noticed how solid relations between France and Romania are


Francois Hollande stated that his Romanian counterpart, Klaus Iohannis, is a factor of unity in Romania.

‘It is important that we have here today Mr. President Iohannis, who is a factor of unity in Romania at the present moment,’ said Hollande, at the Elysee Palace, after his meeting with Iohannis.

He thanked the Romanian President for his first official visit as head of state in France and also for his participation in January in the solidarity march after the terrorist attacks at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine headquarters in Paris.

‘We showed thus how solid our relation is,’ highlighted Hollande.

He also mentioned that the bilateral relations between Romania and France also have roots in history, since language is rooted deeply in history and Romania is a francophone country, where the French language is very privileged.


France is economically strongly implanted in Romania


President Francois Hollande said Tuesday in relation to Romania’s accession to the border-free Schengen Area that the country is ready to take on some commitments.

‘We have agreed that the incoming European Council summit should make decisions to control the movement of persons, the PNR (e.n. – passenger name record) as well as decisions to oversee the Internet and to allow the destruction of websites that allow radicalisation. (…) Romania (…) is ready to take on some commitments. I want us on Thursday at the European Council summit to coordinate on all border dispositions in order to better control arrivals and departures in Europe. That way we will be able to prevent the departure of combatants and be informed about their whereabouts,’ said Hollande after meeting Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis in Paris, in relation to the incoming summit on Thursday.

The French President also mentioned having discussed with Iohannis of the commercial exchanges between France and Romania.

‘France is present in Romania, having conducted sizeable investments over the past years and we want to further such investments,’ said Hollande.

He added that Renault is contributing 3 per cent toward the formation of Romania’s Gross Domestic Product.

‘Continuing is in the interest of both countries. Romania’s balance of trade will stand to gain from the relationship with Romania,’ said Hollande.

He added that there are shared interests between the two countries also in infrastructure, transport, energy, including nuclear power, services, with new technologies, as well as defence.

As far as cultural exchanges between France and Romania are concerned, Hollande said France wants the year 2018, the centennial of modern Romania, to be a very important year, adding that France will mobilise itself for the anniversary.


The Roma issue


“I am sure that the visit of President Iohannis will allow us to do a lot more in this sense,” the French President noted, pointing out that he also talked with the Romanian Head of State about the issue of the Roma community in France.

“For several months there has been ever closer police cooperation, and in Romania there is also an integration project. (…) We reaffirmed the desire to regulate this issue in a humane manner, but also firmly, and President Iohannis is a factor of unity for Romania at this moment,” Francois Hollande concluded.


Iohannis participates on Thursday in the EPP Summit in Brussels


Later, Klaus Iohannis had official talks with the President of the Senate of the French Republic, Gerard Larcher, and the President of the French National Assembly, Claude Bartolone. In the evening, the Romanian head of state met the representatives of the Romanian community in France at the headquarters of the Romanian Embassy in Paris.

On Wednesday, Klaus Iohannis will go to Brussels, where he is set to participate on Thursday in the EPP Summit and the informal meeting of the European Council.





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