President Klaus Iohannis’s first official visit to Rome ended on Tuesday afternoon after the meeting that the Head of State had at the Accademia di Romania with Romanian students that are in Italy on scholarships.
The landmark of the second day of the visit undoubtedly consisted of the meeting and talks held with Italian Premier Matteo Renzi (photo R) , at Pallazzo Chigi. It was a good opportunity for the two sides to review the multiple-layered bilateral relations between Romania and Italy, but also to talk about the contribution of the Romanian community, the biggest but also the most integrated of all foreign communities in Italy. In fact just as well integrated as the Italian community in our country.
As well emphasized by a distinguished member of the Romanian delegation, bilateral economic ties are excellent, although we still have to learn from Italy in what concerns the role of SMEs.
In fact, Ambassador Lazar Comanescu, the President’s foreign affairs advisor, pointed out that it is not by chance that France, Germany and Italy, countries whose role in the European project is well-known, as well as neighbouring countries located in the eastern part or in the proximity of the European Community, countries such as Poland, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, were among the first countries visited by the President.
In what concerns the Schengen accession talks held with Italian officials, Mr. Comanescu alluded to the fact that important steps toward Romania’s accession will be taken this year.
Italy’s Mattarella: The time has come for Romania to be a member of the Schengen Area
Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis on Monday met his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinale Palace in Rome, the official residence of the Italian president, with Matarella saying the time has come for Romania to be a member of the Schengen Area.
The two presidents discussed bilateral issues and items on the European and international agenda.
Also featured in their conversation was Romania’s accession to the border-free Schengen Area, with Mattarella reiterating his support and the support of the Italian Government for Romania achieving its accession objective.
“The time has come for Romania to be part of the Schengen Area,” the Romanian Presidential Administration quotes Mattarella as saying in a press release.
The two heads of state voiced mutual satisfaction over the developments and substance of the Romanian-Italian relationships that are underpinned by traditions and strong ties and also a development framework in the shape of a consolidated strategic partnership of 2008.
In the same context, the importance of the economic and commercial relations between the two countries was emphasised, along with the existing potential for their amplification.
At the same time, mention was made of the importance of the Romanian community of Italy and the Italian community of Romania as a solid bridge for connection and cooperation between the two countries.
“President Sergio Mattarella underscored the significant contribution of the Romanian community of Italy to the country’s economic development. In his turn, President Iohannis extended thanks to his Italian counterpart for the support of Italian authorities for the integration of the Romanian society with the Italian society,” reads the release.
Iohannis is quoted as saying the Romanian community of Italy is “important to Italy and Romania as well.”
In relation to the items on the European agenda, Iohannis mentioned the importance of securing a European prospect for Moldova, with the incoming Riga summit meeting to be a key moment in the process.
Mattarella gave assurances that Italy will back up Romania’s support for Moldova.
The Italian president is quoted as thanking Romania for its position voiced at an extraordinary summit meeting in Brussels last week of the European Council that tackled migration, adding that Romania was one of the countries that displayed the highest sensitivity about the issue at hand.
Also discussed were items on the international agenda, such as the situation in Libya and the intensification of international terror.
The two presidents agreed to conduct a sustained dialogue during their terms in office, with Iohannis inviting his Italian counterpart to visit Romania. Mattarella said he very gladly accepts the invitation.
Also on Monday, Iohannis met Chairman of Italy’s Senate Pietro Grasso to discuss reforms underway in the two countries, as well as the role and activities of the Romanian and Italian national parliaments.
Bath of crowd in Rome, in the greatest Romanian community in the Diaspora
Attending an official visit to Rome for two days, President Klaus Iohannis met on Monday evening, at Palazzo della Cancelleria, with representatives of Romanians in Italy, the greatest community in the Diaspora. Romanians from all regions of Italy traveled to see the President and received him with great warmth and huge acclaim. They wished to take photographs with him, to send him a message and to offer him gifts. The event was also attended by Romanian priests in Italy.
The Head of the Romanian state arrived at about 6:15 at Palazzo della Cancelleria, a monumental palace built in the year 1500, in the centre of Rome, where approximately 500 Romanians living in Italy were awaiting for the President, now in his first official visit to Italy since he was elected.
Klaus Iohannis entered the room, accompanied by his wife Carmen, by Dana Manuela Constantinescu, the Romanian Ambassador to Italy, and by the members of the official delegation. The President was received with bread and salt, symbols of hospitality, offered by three children dressed in Romanian folklore costumes; he held a speech in front of the audience, after Romania’s national anthem was sang.
“Thank you very much for the awesome welcoming you offered my wife Carmen and me, as well as the entire delegation who is present today, here, in Rome. It is a great joy to be here, today, with you. Every time, the meeting with Romanians living outside the borders is a moment filled with emotions. And, as every time, my only regret is that I was not able to see and listen to several people”, the Head of the State declared to the Romanians living in Italy.
He continued: “I know what your hopes and expectations are. I know that you wish a normal Romania, with democratic institutions that serve and respect the citizen, a country that appreciates your work and value, a country where you can return at any time and you may find the same opportunities and conditions as anywhere in Europe. I know these things. They represent directions I have assumed as a President.”
Moreover, Iohannis revealed Romanians living in Italy the essence of his new way of making politics, the one assumed by him in the moment he became president, which consists of “less showing off and less scandal that leads nowhere, less words for the sake of words and much more seriousness and patience.”
“Many times, wishing to do things fast and to repair what was wrong in the past, we are tempted to start many projects at the same time, without preparing them. We start out many actions, without making sure that the foundation we are building upon is solid enough. This is the way many good ideas and intentions failed. This foundation is called today a new way of making politics: less showing off and less scandal that leads nowhere, less words for the sake of words and much more seriousness and patience. This was my first promise and this is where I started”, the Head of the State declared.
Klaus Iohannis also pointed out that the Romanian citizens in the Diaspora are playing an essential role for a better reflection and level of comprehension of Romania in the countries they are now living in. “Romanians outside the borders showed the entire world that they are an example of civic involvement and attendance, and that they are informed”, the Head of the State pointed out.
“Here, in Italy, you are a force; not by your huge number, by the fact that you are representing us and by the fact that you have a word to say in your communities. This is why I advise you to be united and to join forces. Today, I had the opportunity and the pleasure to meet the President of Italy and I had the great joy to hear words of praise and contentment aimed at the Romanian community. I also had the joy to meet the President of the Italian Senate and I once again had the pleasure to hear words of appreciation and gratitude towards the Romanian community. And I may add that you are highly appreciated in the country. So, to add it all, you have a great image. Thank you very much, go on with your great work!”, the President also declared to Romanians living and working in Italy.
President Iohannis received letters, gave autographs on his book, “Step by Step”, and was welcomed with a banner with the words: “We support Kishinev!”. He also received a portrait in crayon, drawn by a ten-year-old girl who wanted the Head of the Romanian state to offer her an autograph on her work.
On her turn, Carmen Iohannis was overwhelmed by admirers, as several ladies in the audience wanted to take photographs with the First Lady.