On the occasion of the celebration of the National Day of the Kingdom of Norway, I have the great pleasure of conveying to our Norwegian partners and friends our warmest congratulations and wishes of success and prosperity.
Romania and the Kingdom of Norway enjoy special relations, strengthened by a significant multi-level collaboration and based on tight economic cooperation and a close political dialogue, both as NATO allies, and partners within the European Economic Area.
The month of May has a special significance for Romanian-Norwegian bilateral relations, as it represents the anniversary month of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Since May 1917, our countries’ bilateral relations have grown stronger through diplomacy and cooperation. Norway has been a reliable partner and a strong supporter of Romania during its NATO integration process.
In recent times, the bilateral dialogue has continued at a very intense pace. Contacts have multiplied and frequent visits at various levels have taken place. I was very pleased to welcome the Minister and Chief of Staff at the Office of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway, responsible for EEA and EU Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Vidar Helgesen, to Bucharest, on 15 April. Similarly, my recent official visit to Oslo, between 26 and 27 April, on the invitation of my counterpart Børge Brende, was an excellent opportunity to discuss new ways of expanding and deepening the substantial political dialogue between our countries. Against this background we are currently looking at expanding and deepening our relations at the political and governmental level. We are also paying special attention to cooperation in areas such as EEA and Norwegian Grants, economy, business, academic and civil society.
Recent figures in trade development confirm a constantly growing economic relationship. At the end of last year, our bilateral trade registered 675 million Euros, of which the value of exports amounted to 575.4 million, and the value of imports to 100.5 million. Romania is proving attractive to Norwegian investors, with 339 Norwegian capital companies functioning here at the beginning of 2015.
I would also like to mention the important contribution of cultural relations in the context of further developing our bilateral relations. I would like to thank the Norwegian authorities, as well as the Norwegian people for their openness towards the Romanian nationals living and working in this beautiful country and express my strong belief that the Romanian community contributes to the well-being of Norwegian society.
This is also the case for the impact which Norwegian cultural personalities have on the Romanian public that has a great deal of respect and admiration for the literature and art of the land of fjords.
Moreover, I believe that this anniversary day should also remind us, in Romania, that the Constitution of the Kingdom of Norway, signed in 1814, is the second oldest written Constitution in the world still in use. It serves as a prevailing example of unity, independence, freedom, equality, and most importantly, democracy. The Constitution has also proven to be a strong document in the fields of human rights and freedom of speech.
Romania shares the joy of this historic date – 17 May – and wishes the Kingdom of Norway and the Norwegian people a happy National Day once again!