• Our countries combine dynamic cooperation and strategic interests in the area of security, energy and infrastructure
Your Excellency, ‘Nine O’Clock’ daily welcomes you to Romania. This is your first interview for our daily. Did you have the chance to get to know Romania before your appointment as ambassador to Bucharest?
Thank you very much for your kind words. I was in Romania on several occasions. Prior to my nomination, while serving as a head of Foreign Minister’s Secretariat, I visited Bucharest as member of Polish official delegation. Before, driving back from Ankara, my last ambassadorial post, I visited Suceava and parts of Bucovina. I arrived to Bucharest reasonably well prepared, with practical knowledge about your country and some personal experience.
From this perspective, my task in Romania might be easier, because Poland is well known here and has positive image among Romanians. Personally, I want to further learn Romanian culture, traditions and to experience the famous beauty of this country.
On September 10 you presented your credential letters to the Romanian President (photo). With what message did you arrive from Warsaw ?
Similar geopolitical situation of Poland and Romania as two countries being on the flank of the European Union and NATO, the convergence of our interests within the EU and common perception of the international situation, especially concerning security policy, makes Romania one of the most important partners for Poland in the region.
Being part of the EU and NATO, we both share the same assessment of the foreign policy issues as events in Ukraine, as well as Russia’s policy.
Polish-Romanian bilateral relations are very good, and intense. Our countries combined dynamic cooperation and strategic interests in the area of security, energy and infrastructure.
A framework for mutual cooperation gives the strategic partnership signed in 2009, complemented by an action plan signed in 2010. Visit of the President of Romania in Poland (March this year) was one of the first after winning elections in November 2014. He reaffirmed the importance of cooperation between our countries. Similarly, elected in June this year, President of Poland Andrzej Duda paid recently one of his first official visits to Bucharest.
All my actions as the Ambassador will be directly related to our membership in the EU and NATO, basing on existing good bilateral relations and rich legal infrastructure, especially our strategic partnership concluded in 2009. I will also use the experience and achievements of my predecessors.
Another priority is the promotion of further development of bilateral economic relations. Polish entrepreneurs – and we have a strong group of over 700 Polish companies registered and active in Romania – can always count on my support. We look forward to the Romanian investments in Poland.
What elements do you believe should be consolidated as part of the Strategic Partnership between the two states?
In the context of the events in the world like immigration crisis, events in Ukraine at this moment the issues related to the security of the region represent a priority in our bilateral cooperation and they are currently our main common goal.
Moreover, taking into account the very good historical and current ties, we would like to further develop and consolidate our bilateral relations, especially in the field of economic, educational, scientific and cultural cooperation and to more actively broaden our citizens’ knowledge about history and contemporary ties. The cooperation between Poland and Romania should be more visible within the EU and NATO activity framework since these are key organizations for both of our countries.
Apart from these issues, in the short term, we want to focus on the implementation of the decisions of the NATO summit in Wales and preparations of the next NATO summit in Warsaw in 2016. We are happy that the President of Romania with President of Poland decided to host the meeting of the NATO heads of state from, in the so-called Warsaw Format and that this meeting took place in Bucharest on 4th of November.
Within the EU, the most important issues will be the stimulation and the consolidation of the economic growth, a sustainable development and energy security. In the field of external relations, the priorities are the Eastern Partnership, migration, the trade and investment partnership with the US.
I was writing in ‘Nine O’Clock’ about the opportunity of a special relation between Bucharest and Warsaw, as an axis of collaboration in Central and Eastern Europe, within the European Union. Poland and Romania are the countries with the largest populations and the highest economic potential in the region, especially in the agriculture sector. Which is your opinion?
Poland is committed to intensify relations with our partners in Central and Eastern Europe. We share a common history and common interests for example in the area of security. Poland declares its solidarity with its allies in Central and Eastern Europe.
By strengthening the capacity of our army we want to become even more reliable ally and guarantor of security in the region. Meeting of the Heads of State from Central and Eastern Europe held in Bucharest in November 4th was an important step towards even closer cooperation in our region. Also it was an important step in the preparation the NATO summit 2016 that will take place in Warsaw. We want our common voice be heard especially in issues related to strengthening the NATO in its readiness to the new security challenges in the region.
With regard to the potential of our economies – I need to stress the utmost importance of the our bilateral cooperation within the European Union.
We very much appreciate the ongoing cooperation with regard to the works concerning projects dedicated to economic growth, climate policy or energy security at the UE forum, that will have direct impact on our economies in the nearest future. I am glad that our countries, which economies have many similarities with regard to their structure, common problems and challenges, very often present common position during debates held in Brussels (eg. on CAP reforms, budgetary issues or structural funds allocations).
Your Excellency, the economic collaboration between the two states outlines Poland’s priority in what concerns both trade and capital investments. What new coordinates do you see in this economic relations domain?
Bilateral economic cooperation and trade exchange – that continuingly shows strong double-digit dynamics – ought to be a great source of satisfaction for both sides. In 2014 trade exchange reached 4 bln EUR and Poland is the sixth biggest commercial partner for Romania. This year Romania is placed 22th among suppliers of goods to the Polish market and for us it is 16th important market (in terms of Polish products sold abroad) in the world. From your perspective Poland is ranked 9th among recipients of Romanian products and is 5th biggest exporter to Romania.
Romania is still an attractive place for Polish investors. Nowadays, your country is on the 12th place in terms of the value of Polish foreign direct investments, with the overall level of the invested capital amounting to almost EUR 500 million (estimations of the National Bank of Poland). The most important factor now is allowing these companies to grow in Romania by ensuring stable business conditions and predictable environment. I will do my best to support that with the help and assistance of my Romanian partners.
Not just economic collaboration but other sectors too are of great interest. Particularly scientific cooperation, cultural exchanges, as well as exchanges between the two countries’ universities. What elements from these sectors’ cooperation agenda can you identify now?
During my mission I plan to promote knowledge about contemporary Poland and its achievements. I would like to cooperate with media on this issue. As an important and effective instrument, which is in the ambassador’s arsenal, I am going to organize study tours in Poland intending to use this tool regularly. I will support direct contacts between the societies of both countries by inspiring cooperation of the culture creators, local authorities and NGOs.
The presence in Bucharest of the Polish Institute – a institution devoted to promoting Polish culture in Romania (http://www.culturapoloneza.ro/) is a direct recognition of the importance that Poland attaches to culture in our relations with Romania.
I will try to strengthen contacts between Polish and Romanian academics, as the scientific cooperation is significant promotion. An important chance for development of the interpersonal relations, as well as the tool creating a solid foundation for the future is student exchange program ERASMUS. I’m going to promote intensively the participation of Polish and Romanian students in this exchange at the universities of both countries. From my previous experience I am deeply convinced that ERASMUS greatly contributes to building a solid network of young people that would carry on good relations towards the future. I intend to work closely with the graduates of Polish studies and courses in Polish, which can study in four cities in Romania. I will also look into possibilities to promote tourism and to encourage Romanians to get to know better our rich heritage and beauty of nature.
Another question: you have a passion for foreign languages. You speak English, French, Turkish. Do you plan to learn Romanian too?
I liked the sound of Romanian from the very beginning. As a francophone, I can understand a lot. I hope to be able to learn it properly which will require discipline and time.