On 18 April 2015 Romania and Ireland will celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations. This period of time – brief, from a historic perspective – has nevertheless witnessed an immense transformation of Romania, which was possible only through the cooperation and support of our European partners, Ireland included.
From the opening of the Embassies in Dublin and Bucharest, respectively, to becoming partners in an enlarged European Union, Ireland and Romania have continuously strengthened their bilateral relations – a journey marked by achievements in areas of major importance.
Ireland’s success in Europe has been an inspiration for Romania in its bid to join the European Union. It demonstrated how a nation can use its resources and influence to accelerate its development and to promote the interests of its citizens at European and international levels.
It is noteworthy that, in 2004, during its Presidency of the European Council, Ireland strongly supported Romania’s aspiration to join the European Union. Eight years later, in 2012, Ireland showed the same degree of support, by lifting, with two years of anticipation, all the restrictions on its labour market for the Romanian workers, thus recognizing not only the equal rights of all EU citizens working in Ireland, but also the important contribution of the Romanian community to the economy and the increasingly multicultural life of Ireland.
Ireland is an outstanding example of efficient utilization of EU funds toward swift economic development that can serve as a model for Romania. Furthermore, there is great potential for increased cooperation and investment in a number of priority areas: both Romania and Ireland benefit from a high level of expertise in IT and communications and there is considerable potential for cooperation, development and mutual investment in this field. Ireland is a hub of excellence in IT&C with corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter carrying out major operations and employing highly qualified personnel including many Romanian IT&C experts. Two other areas of major mutual interest for Romania and Ireland are agriculture and tourism, where both countries have remarkable natural and human resources to be further tapped into in the context of enhanced bilateral economic cooperation.
Since 1990, our bilateral political dialogue has been constantly consolidated. The first visit at the highest level took place in 2008, when the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, paid a state visit to Romania. In June 2014 another landmark was registered: the first official visit to Ireland of a Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament. Many other contacts between Foreign Ministers and other members of the Government or Parliament, both in Bucharest and Dublin, are testimonies of the commitment of our countries to strengthen the political dialogue, leading to a better understanding and harmonization of our positions in the EU.
Cultural interaction is one of the most successful areas of our bilateral cooperation. Shaun Davey, one of the most illustrious Irish contemporary composers, celebrates through his songs, performed both in Romania and in Ireland, the symbiosis between Irish and Romanian music. Equally, the string quartet “ConTempo”, made up of Romanian artists who live in Ireland, enchants audiences with their interpretation. In recognition of the importance that Romania attaches to the relationship with Ireland, in October 2014, in Dublin, a comprehensive cultural event, the first of its kind, was organized by Romania, entitled “The Romanian Cultural Days in Dublin”. It was a unique artistic event, in scale and quality, aimed at promoting better knowledge and understanding of Romania in Ireland. It registered great success and enjoyed widespread appreciation from the Irish public.
Trade and investment, two very important areas of our economic relations, have known a continuously ascending trend. The presence of CRH and Kingspan, two world class Irish companies, in Romania since the beginning of this year and the success of the Romanian brand “Dacia” on the Irish market provide us with solid reasons for optimism regarding the potential of growth in the economic area and motivate both our countries to enhance our efforts to fully capitalize upon this potential.
Today, as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the National Day of Ireland which, in recent years, has become a feast for a growing number of people around the world, including in Romania, we take the occasion to evoke the celebration of twenty five years of dynamic, vibrant relations, a solid basis on which to continue to build a strong Romanian – Irish partnership for Europe!