On the 10th of June, Portugal celebrates its national day, our greatest poet, Luís de Camões, and the Portuguese communities that live around the world. There is a lot to remember and traditionally, this day, brings Portuguese and their friends together.
It is for me a great pleasure to spend this special day in Romania, with my fellow Portuguese residing here, and with so many Romanians that I have met since my arrival.
Bilateral relations are excellent, and have been developing in many different areas, from political cooperation and economic exchanges, to education and scientific research.
The many visits both to Romania and to Portugal of Portuguese and Romanian dignitaries, that culminated last year with the State visit of H.E. the President of the Portuguese Republic, are a clear testimony of the very good understanding of our two countries which relations have been improving at a consolidated pace.
The very large Romanian Community residing in Portugal, its successful integration, and important contribution to the Portuguese economy, are just another success story that reflects our mutual understanding in so many fields … and this is also the reason why such a large number of Portuguese enterprises are present in several regions of Romania.
Notwithstanding Portugal and Romania being geographically the two most far apart Latin countries in Europe, respectively located at the extremes, west and east, of the old continent, both have deep affinities. Many of them originated in common civilizational and linguistic matrices, some other in History.
The great philosopher and thinker Mircea Eliade – who has been Romanian’s Cultural Attaché in Portugal – refers to Luís de Camões and Mihai Eminescu, as the “two great poets of the Latinate”. In an article published in 1943 in the magazine “Vremea”, Eliade reveals the significance of the contribute that both these two great national poets have given to the enrichment of Latinate, when they found out how to interpret in a creative manner its values, and to give them an universal and innovative expression, converging in so many ways, in spite of obvious historical differences – as the first one lived during the Renascence, and the second at the end of the nineteenth century.
Portugal’s National Day also celebrates the great Luís de Camões, and its major contribution – The Lusiadas – for the European Culture, that culture that brings all of us, peoples of Europe, together. Nowadays, thanks to facility of all sorts of forms of communications, an European can easily feel at home anywhere in this continent. It is the case of the many thousands of Romanians that found a new home in Portugal, and of the several Portuguese that are living now in Romania, in which group I include myself! I seldom felt so quickly at home, as when I arrived in this beautiful country. Even when I travel and try to use the few Romanians words that I have already learned, people welcome me and try to be helpful in any way they can …
It is true that celebrations usually make us speak about the past. Instead, I believe it is a very good opportunity to make us reflect on how to do better in the future. Today we are talking about Portugal and Romania, but the same can be said for every country: it is of prior importance to know each other better, and to try to discover the similarities that unite all Mankind. It is just too easy and diminishing to focus on the negative issues, on the difficulties. Both our countries are Europeans, both are part of the EU, of Nato … linked by an important number of common interests.
But Portuguese and Romanians still don’t know each other well, and it is with determination that I will go on contributing to the improvement of this situation until the end of my term at the Embassy of Portugal in Bucharest.