Romania and the United Kingdom established diplomatic relations on 8/20 February 1880, shortly after Romania had gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire.
Some 65 years and two World Wars later, the communist regime which took hold of the country and asserted its tyrannical power over the fate of its people unfortunately excluded Romania from the European family and kept it on the dark side of history for almost half a century.
Nevertheless, when Central and Eastern European peoples’ spring came, in 1989, it was quite reassuring to see that we could count again on the support of Western European countries like the United Kingdom in our renewed quest for democratic values and institutions. A new chapter opened then for the bilateral relations between Romania and the United Kingdom who also became one of our country’s most ardent supporters in its pursuit of NATO and European Union integration.
The Romanian-British bilateral relations have since continuously grown, expanded and diversified, reaching a level where the most natural next step was their elevation, in 2003, to Strategic Partnership status. In 2011 they were given a new boost through the adoption, at the highest level, of the “Joint Statement on enhancing the Strategic Partnership between Romania and the UK”.
It is no exaggeration to state that our bilateral relations stand today at their highest. There is an abundance of facts to sustain that assertion, from the dynamic and consistent political dialogue to the level of our economic exchanges and the close cooperation within NATO and other international organizations.
That is at the same time an incentive to strive to further intensify our bilateral cooperation. Even in as far the security dimension – the cornerstone of the Strategic Partnership – is concerned, there is still a lot to be done together, not least of which is our joint contribution to the full implementation of the decisions of the NATO Summit in Wales last September. Equally, there are many other areas, particularly in the economic realm, where opportunities are just waiting to be taken advantage of.
In achieving all these objectives and continuously strengthening our bilateral relations we heavily rely on the young, active, hardworking, significant Romanian community in the UK. To be more precise, we strongly count on the thousands and thousands of Romanians living in the UK, working in different sectors of the British economy and directly contributing to the prosperity of that great country, as well as on the approximate 7000 Romanian students enrolled in British universities, to help us foster the already strong bonds of friendship between our countries.
As a proud and committed member of the European Union, Romania shares with the UK the genuine interest in an ever stronger, functional and competitive Union. The two countries have already set themselves the task, through the Strategic Partnership Statement of 2011, to work together “to promote economic growth in the European Union, to enlarge it to the Western Balkans, Turkey and the Republic of Moldova, to respond generously to democratic reform in the EU’s neighbourhood”. Our shared vision, according to the same document, is that of a Europe that is “open to trade and innovation, more supportive of new businesses and economic growth, based on the free movement of goods, services, people and capital”.
Sir Winston Churchill, the most popular Prime-minister in Britain’s history, once said: “to improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often”. Giving due consideration to these wise words, Romania and the United Kingdom stand ready to continue to work together tirelessly to the benefit of their bilateral relations and to that of the European family they both belong to.