Italy’s Ambassador to Bucharest, Diego Brasioli, gave “italophone” credentials on Monday to 30 personalities in Romania, including Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Ramona Badescu, Mariana Nicolescu, Ilie Nastase and Gheorghe Hagi, as means of recognition of their contribution to the promotion of Italian language and culture.
The distinction was promoted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, as an initiative destined to express appreciation to outstanding personalities who, in each country Italy has diplomatic relations with, are performing activities that promote the Italian country and language.
According to the Italian Embassy to Bucharest, the criteria used by Embassies to identify, in Romania, as well as in other parts of the world, these personalities coming from fields as diverse as possible, is the knowledge of the Italian language. The chosen names were thus included in a public list, permanently updated, consisting of former students of the Italian language classes held by Italian cultural institutions and famous “Italophone” figures.
Italian Ambassador Diego Brasioli pointed out during the credential offering ceremony that each time he is demanded to present a list of examples of Romanian personalities, he is confused, because of the impressive number of fabulous public persons. Moreover, Diego Brasioli jokingly warned the recipients of the credentials that, besides the acknowledgement of the merit of “Italophone”, provided by the document, it is not sure that it will allow any “cuts on transportation” or other price cuts in Italy.
Among the people selected to receive the credentials, there were Prime Minister Victor Ponta, violinist Alexandru Tomescu, former footballers Gheorghe Hagi and Gino Iorgulescu, tennis player Ilie Nastase, soprano Mariana Nicolesco, art historian Radu Varia, actress Ramona Badescu, GE President and CEO for Romania, Bulgaria and the R. of Moldova, Cristian Colteanu, former Ambassador of Romania to Italy, Mircea Gheordunescu, former General Consul of Romania to Milan and Radu Bogdan, the manager of the Italian language weekly paper “Sette Giorni”, published in Bucharest since 1999 and of the Nine O’Clock Daily, published since 1991.
PM Ponta declared, while receiving the credentials, that he liked to believe that there were 20 million “italophones” in Romania, and mentioned that he always preferred traveling to Italy than to any other country in Europe.
Senator Crin Antonescu had also been invited to be granted this distinction, yet he did not attend the ceremony on Monday, and the representatives of the Embassy mentioned that Antonescu did not confirm his attendance last week and, therefore, they would send him the document by another means.
Ponta: If there must be a change in the axis of Romanian foreign politics, I suggest the axis Rome – Washington…
While at the residence of the Italian Ambassador, PM Ponta declared that he would like to propose an axis Rome – Washington, because “it is fashionable”, if the axis of the Romanian foreign politics is changing anyway, with the inclusion of Berlin instead of London, pointing out that he preferred going to Rome first, and then to the rest of Europe.
“If the axis London – Washington has to change into Berlin – Washington anyway, as it is fashionable, I suggest that we do an axis Rome – Washington. Whether it is London, Rome or Berlin, the bottom line is that all of us in Washington and Bucharest should be there. Certainly, I always preferred traveling to Italy, to Rome first, and then to the rest of Europe”, Ponta declared at the residence of the Italian Ambassador to Bucharest, where he was offered the “italophone” distinction.
In January, Eduard Hellvig, the new Head of SRI, had written on his blog that the fundamental priority of the year 2015 is Romania’s deeper and increasingly active anchoring in the equation of Euro-Atlantic security on the axis Washington – Berlin – Bucharest, replacing London with Berlin in the axis previously suggested by ex-President Traian Basescu.
*Photo credit: Marian Bohus