The 4th of July, the Independence Day, represents a turning point both in American history and worldwide, for all who embrace, promote and defend the values of liberty and democracy.
It is a privileged moment to extend my warmest congratulations to the American nation!
We are proud to call the US a close friend and ally – the remarkable anniversary exhibit we launched just a few days ago, at the Romanian National Library, showing the highlights of the 135 years of the bilateral relations, being just another reminder for this. Looking back at the track record of our alliance, one can see that the distinct affinity and deep-seated connections between our people and countries were significant even at times when particular political and military circumstances placed us temporarily on different sides of the history.
The Strategic Partnership between Romania and the United States, a core pillar of our foreign and security policy, has brought a distinctive and valuable contribution in redefining our country’s strategic profile, which is being actively shaped by our EU and NATO membership. It has also been instrumental in stimulating and speeding up Romania’s growth and progress, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, in many critical fields, leading to what Romania is today: a respected member of the Transatlantic and international community.
The strength and breadth of our bilateral Partnership grew in significance and substance with the adoption of the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for the 21first Century between the United States of America and Romania, at the highest level, in September 13, 2011, in Washington – which I had the privilege to negotiate for Romania – thus enabling us to multiply the dividends of our cooperation in numerous areas. Our collaborative relationship has reached an unprecedented level of engagement in many areas, from the pol-mil and security dialogue, and regional and international cooperation to economy, energy, open governance, law enforcement, education and people to people contacts.
In 2015, Romania and the United States are marking 135 years of diplomatic relations, thus acknowledging with mutual appreciation a longstanding friendship, their accomplishments and the promise of a bright future. This milestone anniversary further stimulates us to enhance and expand our long-term cooperation, on all tracks of our Strategic Partnership with the aim to create more and broader opportunities for our citizens and future generations. Our Strategic Partnership is not only a solid anchor to our present, but also a pivot to the future.
An enhanced bilateral political dialogue was confirmed by the sustained pace of visits to Romania of the high-ranking US officials from the Administration and the US Congress, in the past year. The level of engagement with the members of the Congress, over the course of the first semester of 2015, reflected by the number of delegations visiting Bucharest, has been unparalleled.
Also, the military and security dimension was and will remain, in 2015 and beyond, a top priority and a very dynamic component of the Strategic Partnership. Our successful cooperation in this area is mirrored by the close interaction both bilaterally and within the NATO framework, aimed at ensuring the Euro-Atlantic and international security, which has been increasingly beset by new and old challenges and threats from the unfolding security crisis in our Eastern neighborhood to terrorism, proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction and cyber warfare.
Aside of our close interaction in theater operations such as Afghanistan or in key security-related projects in Romania – the Ballistic Missile Defence facility in Deveselu being the most prominent one – the rapid and full implementation of the decisions taken at the NATO Summit in Wales, including of the provisions of the European Reassurance Initiative, has been, in the current regional security context, at the forefront of our cooperation in the past year. The strengthened US presence in Romania and in the Black Sea area, reflected by the multitude of joint land, air and maritime combined exercises, training and operations conducted within the NATO reassurance measures, attests to the US’ unwavering commitment for Romania’s security. We have warmly welcomed these opportunities for strengthened engagement which, while providing for regional security, enables our countries to further deepen cooperation and coordination. The purely defensive BMD facility in Deveselu, to become operational towards the end of 2015, represents not only one of the most significant joint projects of the Strategic Partnership, but also a crucial component in building up NATO’s ballistic missile defense system.
Our diverse and robust Strategic Partnership goes beyond the pol-mil and security cooperation. We are also increasingly focusing our efforts on enhancing its economic dimension, through a dynamic bilateral engagement, advancing concrete steps to promote our country as an attractive destination for American investors, and supporting initiatives advanced by the representatives of the US business community. Moreover, we are closely working together to build a long term strong economy by developing a transparent, stable, and predictable economic environment and by taking advantage of the new transatlantic and global economic and trade opportunities. An important component of the economic realm, with a growing dynamic, will further remain the strengthening of the bilateral cooperation on innovation, energy and cyber security projects.
Romania remains committed to working closely with the United States to further developing our value-based Partnership on the strategic and security coordinates, but also on its other key dimensions, including on people-to-people exchanges and Visa Waiver. We particularly look forward to tapping the potential and the sources of our long-term economic strength – education, innovation, science and research, all of which leading to new breakthroughs.
The alliance between the United States and Romania has never been stronger and it will further remain indispensable to our future and to Romania’s continued prosperity and security. The continuous deepening of Strategic Partnership fully serves the interest of Romania and its citizens and contributes to building a better present and tomorrow in our region and beyond.