With the election of an ethnic German – Klaus Iohannis – as Romania’s President, the Romanian-German relations seem to have entered a new dynamic not only from a political standpoint but on all levels. Being already Romania’s main trade partner, Germany seems to have an increasingly important role to play in the Romanian economy. This desire was assumed and supported through public statements by Klaus Iohannis, ever since before being elected President, but especially afterward. A first message meant to show Romania’s interest in developing economic ties with Germany was addressed by President Iohannis in January, on the occasion of a Romanian-German Chamber of Commerce meeting, but also during his visit to Berlin at the end of February. A visit to Romania paid by Germany’s Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, an institution that defends the interests of German businessmen in this part of Europe, followed on March 4. Just 5 days later, and 10 days after his visit in Berlin and his talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Iohannis continued the dialogue with German officials on deepening bilateral ties, receiving at the Presidential Palace the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (photo L), who is on an official visit to Romania accompanied by a numerous delegation.
According to the Presidential Administration, “the discussions between President Iohannis and the German Minister of Foreign Affairs have reviewed the current stage and prospects of Romanian-German relations, by both sides being emphasized the dynamics in recent years of bilateral visits at the highest level, evidence of the privileged character of the Romanian-German relations . “Romanian President revealed that Germany continues to be the most important trading partner of our country and pledged to attract new investors, highlighting the successes of large German companies in Romania”, reads a press release of Romania’s Presidential Administration.
“On the occasion of the meeting there were addressed topical issues on the European agenda, particularly the situation in the eastern neighborhood countries. Mr. President Klaus Johannis reiterated his support for Moldova’s European course. German Minister said that Berlin attaches equal importance to maintaining Moldova’s pro-European orientation. The two officials also discussed the worrying developments in Ukraine and the situation in the Western Balkan countries. Regarding accession to the Schengen area, the German official said that a solution must be found to enable progress in achieving this goal,” reads the Presidential Administration press release.
After the official talks that took place in the morning, in the afternoon the President Iohannis and Frank Steinmeier visited the “German Minority in Romania – Past and Present in United Europe” exhibition opened at the Brukenthal Palace in Sibiu.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier also attended the inauguration of a new investment made by a German company, and visited Sibiu where he was given the title of honorary citizen. The agenda of German Foreign Minister’s visit to Romania also included his presence at the festive event organized by the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania on the occasion of 25 years of existence.
Steinmeier: I visit a partner with whom Germany has close relations
“I visit a partner with whom Germany has close relations from a historical, cultural and political point of view. An important goal of the talks I will be having in Bucharest with the President, the Prime Minister and my counterpart will seek to identify new joint ideas and initiatives on even closer cooperation between Germany and Romania. I want to also emphasize the growing economic ties, as well as our powerful human ties that exist traditionally between our countries. This aspect clearly stands out, on one hand, because during my visit a large German logistics company is inaugurating a new important location in Bucharest,” the German Foreign Minister stated in an interview for hotnews.ro, before arriving in Romania.
With Romania we have collaboration based on trust
“With Romania we have, both in the European and international context, a collaboration based on trust. Romania’s performances in the last 25 years deserve our respect and recognition. As partners within the European Union we face today the same mission, that of credibly consolidating and protecting, within, our European values: democracy and the rule of law,” Steinmeier added.
“We share the concerns regarding the modified security situation in our immediate neighbourhood. This is not just a common issue at EU level, but is also leaves its mark on our collaboration and solidarity at NATO level. This is the reason why I salute Romania’s announcement of getting involved even stronger in the context of the NATO alliance. We are prepared to participate to the creation, in Romania, of units for the integration of NATO forces and of a multinational divisional command centre,” the German Foreign Minister added in his interview for Hotnews.
In what concerns bilateral economic cooperation, Steinmeier stated for hotnews.ro that the long and important presence of German investors in Romania proves that the interest is high. “Romania continues to remain a location with great potential. Here German companies find motivated and well-trained labour force, some locations enjoying long industrial tradition. However, in what concerns investments, we cannot look away from the fact that competition is high in Europe. If Romania wants to attract new investors and to expand more demanding economic branches, it will equally have to continue to adjust its own competitiveness. Based on our contacts with companies, we found out that the expansion of infrastructure, better legal security and fair public procurement tenders, as well as an efficient administration, will represent important trump cards in future investment decisions taken in Romania’s favour.”
CVM report shows progress, Interior Ministers have to decide Schengen steps
“This is my third visit and I admit too much time has passed since my previous visit six years ago. We recently met in Riga and these bilateral meetings should be continued. I talked with the President and the Premier and now I had a first exchange with the delegations. I notice how much Romanian-German relations have grown in recent years. The day will be over in Sibiu, I thank you for your invitation, and this proves that foreign policy is not led solely from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, but what matters more in the quality of interstate relations is also the fact that people can bring about change, It’s a generally applicable principle also for the members of the German community in Romania, one with a history of over 900 years. And today in Sibiu we will notice the contribution of the German minority and we will honour it in a special event. We want to continue the Romanian-German treaty of friendship and good cooperation. Identity and nationality are in a relation of peace. This should be the case in other countries too, in eastern Ukraine,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated at the end of his talks with his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu.
“This morning we talked about 50,000 Romanians who work in Germany. There were talks that there are employers of different sizes in Germany and I expressed my opinion about the fact that many persons are affected by prejudices. These prejudices existed. There is a study with amazing figures that expresses the fact that Romanians are the best-integrated group in the labour market. Before that study was published, it was known that Germany profits from the people working there. This study confirmed it. This was expressed in the talks with the President – Romania’s progress in the last 25 years and the active partnership within the EU. German investors appreciate Romania. Where there are problems I have underscored them in my talks with Minister Aurescu: the shortcomings of the judiciary and transparency. With the German delegation I took the opportunity to motivate the government to continue the reforms,” Steinmeier added.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also stated on Monday in Bucharest, during his joint press opportunity with his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu, that the latest CVM report shows the progress registered by Romania and Bulgaria, emphasizing that now the EU’s Interior Ministers have to decide the next steps in what concerns the two countries’ Schengen Area accession bids.
Asked whether the regional security situation puts Romania’s and Bulgaria’s Schengen accession bids at risk as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, Germany FM Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated: “Many things have changed in Europe as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine (…) but the conflict has nothing to do with the Schengen accession criteria. The states that are not members of the Schengen Area have to continue to work in order to fulfil them,” Mediafax informs.
“I know that not only in Bulgaria but also here in Romania the efforts made in recent years were considerably strengthened. The latest European Commission report (the CVM report – editor’s note) points out the progress made especially in what concerns the consolidation of the judiciary’s independence and now the interior ministers have to decide the next steps. We are prepared to openly support this process of dialogue,” the German Foreign Minister pointed out at a press conference alongside his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu.
In his turn, the Romanian Foreign Minister pointed out that Romania’s Schengen accession will strengthen the security of this area.
“Romania already acts as a de facto Schengen state, we have a great deal of achievements from the point of view of strengthening the European space against illegal migration, against other kinds of threats. Schengen Area accession will only serve to enhance our efficiency in this kind of activity and we can obviously prove these statements with concrete arguments,” Bogdan Aurescu pointed out.
Aurescu: Romania is prepared to ensure the security of EU’s external borders
The Romanian Foreign Minister said he assured his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier that “Romania is fully prepared to ensure the security of EU’s external borders and to contribute in this way to the strengthening of Schengen Area’s security.”
“We have agreed to work together in order to identify a solution in the following period,” Bogdan Aurescu added.
German Foreign Minister:In Sibiu I want to honour the special role played by the German minority
In what concerns the visit in Sibiu, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated in his interview for Hotnews: “I am happy to return to Sibiu where – during my first term – I marked the 2006/2007 New Year and I witnessed the moment Romania joined the European Union. In Sibiu I want to honour the special role that the German minority, with a history of almost 900 years, continues to play today too, acting as a bridge between Germany and Romania. The Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania, whose 25 years of existence we celebrate today through a festive moment, has, as representative of the interests of the German minority, a major contribution to the process of democratic transformation in Romania after 1989.”