President Klaus Iohannis stated on Wednesday in a message delivered at the Parliament a year after taking up office that the topic he advances for 2016 is rebuilding trust in politics, adding that it is his duty, as mediator between the state and society, to be the bearer of the message of renewal. According to the president, it is the political parties that will bear the brunt.
“Rebuilding trust in politics is the topic I propose with regards to 2016. Rebuilding trust in democratic institutions, in the political act, in parties and their representatives, meaning you. I thus become the bearer on the message of renewal I send in different manners to our fellow citizens. As a mediator between the state and society, it is my duty to do this, but the parties will bear the brunt. It is precisely the renewal of ideas, practices and people that represents the chance to maintain the stability and the balance of the political system,” Iohannis told deputies and senators at the Palace of Parliament.
The president declared himself in favour of a political system where both the left as well as the right are represented, one where there is competition, but rejected the idea of a political scene that features extremist, populist or radical parties.
“I wish that when thinking about politics, our citizens do not associate it in a broad way and indiscriminately with inefficiency, lying or corruption. I wish that Romanians perceive politics for what it is meant to be: a space of representation and responsible decision making to which it is honourable and honouring to participate, and doing politics to be in everyone’s consciousness a means to serve your nation. All of these require will and openness from the established political parties and courage and effort from those who participate for the first time in electoral contests,” the head of state told Parliament.
Klaus Iohannis pointed out that, in order to rebuild trust, everyone involved must make an effort, not just the political parties.
“To acknowledge the good things and to keep what works. If we want a strong edifice, we will have to avoid the trap of thinking that ‘nothing is good enough’. To refrain from holding accountable the institutions for individual blame or for the lack of fairness in certain people and to reject the temptation of radicalism and permanent suspicion. I am convinced that Romanians will show wisdom and balance,” the president stated.
I came before you as gesture of democratic normality
President Klaus Iohannis stated at the Parliament’s plenary meeting that he came to address them as an act of democratic normality, not in order to present a dry balance sheet.
“I meant to come before you one year since taking on the mandate not to present a dry balance sheet, but as an act of democratic normality,” Iohannis said.
Iohannis said that upon taking on the presidential mandate one year ago he spoke about the major directions for Romania, about the changes entailed by his way of doing politics.
“My conviction (…) is that the big projects of a nation can only be accomplished if they are based on values and norms undertaken. This foundation needed reconstruction. I wanted 2015 to be the year we gain normality,” Iohannis stated.
Colectiv – most tragic lesson of 2015; conclusion: corruption kills
President Klaus Iohannis stressed in the plenum of Parliament the that the most tragic lesson of this year is the Colectiv Club fire, which shed light on issues in several systems.
“The most tragic lesson of 2015 is called Colectiv. The event that has pained an entire nation has revealed problems in many systems, some perpetuated for years on end and to which we all – authorities, citizens – at one point or another shrugged our shoulders in helplessness and which we came to tolerate. There are things that we do not have a moral right to forget and conclusions that must determine us to act and to be more responsible. The hardest conclusion is that corruption kills, pure and simple, that innocent lives can be lost if we do not respect laws and rules and if we, as a whole, as a society turn a blind eye to breaches of the law,” said Iohannis, in the speech he held at the anniversary of one year of mandate before Parliament.
According to the President, a second lesson of this year is the “law of change”.
“A second lesson for 2015 is the law of change, we are not speaking of a momentary need, limited to replacing a Government or a political power, but a profound change of the political realm, a renewal that meets the expectations and realities in society; between politics and society, between political class and citizens there can be no gap. That is why, the great stake of 2016 is reconstructing trust in politics and [reconstructing] its capacity to give society the direction it wants,” said the head of state.
Parliament can meet expectations by more debate, thoroughness
President Klaus Iohannis said in the address to Parliament marking a year in office, that Parliament can and must meet the expectations by more debate and more thoroughness.
He stressed these two things are either still missing or are not at the level demanded by democracy.
“Important laws got to the public attention only after they were adopted, once they got to being promulgated or even after that”, the head of state said, adding such a situation serves nobody.
As for the thoroughness, Iohannis spoke of instances when he had been forced to notify the Constitutional Court in the case of some laws.
I hope authorities ensure good conditions for vote abroad
President Klaus Iohannis expressed hope on Wednesday that the authorities will ensure the necessary framework so that the voting for Romanians abroad will take place in good conditions next year.
“Regaining normality has concerned the Romanians in the diaspora. I am glad that the promise of having a law of correspondence voting was respected and I hope that the authorities will ensure the entire necessary framework for the vote of Romanians abroad to take place in the best and safest conditions in the year to come,” said Iohannis in the Parliament plenum.
He added that the law on correspondence voting is not perfect. “It is not a perfect law, there will probably be things to improve in this mechanism, but it is essential for it to exist, it came on time and resulted from the will of the political class who respected its promise made to citizens,” said the head of state.
Romania was in some isolation, now respected country that matters
President Klaus Iohannis said in the address to Parliament on Wednesday, marking a year in office, that Romania had been in some isolation in the previous years and stressed that the country, at present, is respected in NATO and the European Union and ready to take upon itself responsibilities.
“For various reasons, which I do not want to comment here, Romania was in some isolation in the previous years. I wanted us to totally change this state of fact in 2015, which also explains the higher dynamic this year in the foreign policy activity. Romania is a country respected in NATO and the EU, one that matters in the geo-political and geo-strategic equation and one that is ready to take upon itself responsibilities”, Iohannis told a joint sitting of the Romanian legislature.
He argued that his visits abroad and his welcoming various officials in Romania were meant to give the country a “more powerful voice”.
“Regaining normalcy in 2015 also meant moves at an external level, I particularly mean restoring the prestige of Romania outside its borders, raising its profile in the EU and NATO and strengthening our strategic partnerships. 2015 has been a year in which we have not only confirmed, but have deepened and transposed the major options of our foreign policy into concrete actions. The external visits and the welcoming of numerous heads of states and governments have had this very purpose of giving our country a more powerful voice, of strengthening the relations with traditional allies, of restoring the strategic ties, of getting closer to states in the region”, Iohannis explained.
The president underscored he had several clear objectives in this respect, namely the consolidation and extension of the Strategic Partnership with the United States, strengthening the strategic partnerships or privileged relations with EU and NATO members, strengthening the relations with the neighbouring countries.
“The privileged relation with the Republic of Moldova and backing its European route was and will remain a constant of our foreign policy”, the head of state stressed.