The celebration of the National Day of the Kingdom of Spain gives me the great pleasure to convey my best wishes to the Spanish people.
The 12th of October is a day with particular relevance, not only for Spain, but for the whole world, as it commemorates a landmark event shaping global history. The arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, more than half a millennium ago, has been a crucial moment for humankind, leading to major changes.
The developments which have succeeded in the centuries to come, bringing closer Europe and America, would have not occurred in the same way and history itself would have been written differently, if this majestic discovery had not been made. Today, we clearly see the importance and benefits of the close ties between the two sides of the Atlantic. This day reminds us of the invaluable contribution of the Spanish nation to all that has been achieved by the human society and civilization since the discovery of the New World.
Spain is a true and reliable friend of Romania, enjoying much appreciation among my compatriots. Although separated by the distance which crosses the old European continent from West to East, Romania and Spain have been and remain two countries close to each other, with a special relation along the centuries, based on the Latin origins their peoples share.
In the spirit of this friendship, Spain has supported the accession of Romania to NATO and to the European Union. Our relations have developed constantly since Romania has joined the Euro-Atlantic community and has had a remarkable growth in the last years, both politically and economically. We are now in a privileged relation of Strategic Partnership, which we hope will provide the adequate framework to strengthen our bilateral ties even more.
The political dialogue, which has been intensified in the last period, had a peak moment this year, in July, marked by the official visit paid by the Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis, to Madrid. On this occasion, the two sides confirmed their common will to further develop the excellent relation our countries have and to seek new opportunities of cooperation in all the fields of mutual interest.
The economic exchanges between Romania and Spain doubled in the last decade, reaching almost 3 billion Euro at the end of 2014. The Spanish investments in Romania reached up to 1.35 billion Euro, especially in areas like construction and energy. I strongly believe that the current situation of Romania – its economic growth, along with the trust and the opportunities it provides for the foreign investors – will convince more entrepreneurs from Spain to see it as an attractive destination for their activities.
The multilateral issues, especially the ones related to the European agenda and to international security, are of particular relevance for the Romanian-Spanish cooperation.
2015 is a jubilee year for Spain, which celebrates 30 years since the signing of its Accession Treaty, along with Portugal, to the European Communities. As His Majesty King Felipe VI has stated with the occasion of the mentioned celebration, this has been one of the best periods in the history of Spain, years when Spaniards have lived “in freedom and democracy, achieving an unprecedented social and economic development”. Today, Spain’s successes in European integration, absorption and benefitting from European funds serve as models for Romania.
Within the EU, Romania and Spain share the same vision for a united and solidary Europe, which should come closer to its citizens. In this respect, we need to be more integrated economically in order to reach, in the future, a deeper political union. The convergence of our positions helps us coordinate and support each other in the process of defining the future of the European project.
The link between our people contains also the dimension of the common suffering that unites us, after the fatal day of 11 March 2004, when a tragedy stemming from the darkest fanaticism has produced hundreds of victims among Spaniards and other innocent people. 16 Romanians were killed, being the nation most affected after the Spanish one. Romania and Spain have understood this painful lesson and are currently engaged in a joint demarche to create an International Court against Terrorism, which would rise the means of international law for fighting terrorism at a global level.
Sharing common ideals of security and peace, Romania and Spain cooperate closely as partners within NATO, with an important contribution to the Allied projects, such as NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan or the Ballistic Missile Defence System. Ensuring our common security in the current context, especially at the Southern and Eastern borders of the European and Euro-Atlantic space, is a priority for both Romania and Spain, therefore we are interested in further strengthening our cooperation in this field.
A truly privileged relation, such as the one between Romania and Spain, could not be built only on a fruitful political dialogue and on a growing economic cooperation. There must be something else feeding this special tie, which lies beyond the meetings of the officials and the success of the business activities. And it is. It can be described as the unseen link that approaches people, even belonging to different countries, and makes them live together in a climate of trust, respect and understanding. This happens in Spain, where almost a million Romanian citizens live and work, with a significant contribution to the development of the Spanish economy and society. They also benefit from the open and constructive attitude of the Spanish authorities and people, which are making all the necessary efforts to integrate the Romanian community in Spain, thus revealing once more the true and sincere friendship between our countries and nations.
For all these reasons, Romania further needs and strongly supports a solid partnership with a robust and united Spain. We support the unity and territorial integrity of Spain. I am fully convinced that only together we can overcome the current challenges we are facing in Europe. Romania stands by Spain, together we are stronger and more determined to succeed, because we truly believe in our shared values and principles. We truly believe in unity and solidarity.
Feliz Día de la Fiesta Nacional!