DIPLOMACY

President Joachim Gauck, in Bucharest: ´Only few in your country doubt the EU´

Many people in Romania succeeded in keeping something of their 2007 enthusiasm for the European Union, and parties that are critical of Europe play almost no role in this country, President of Germany Joachim Gauck said on Tuesday in the address delivered at the Bucharest National Library, titled ‘Europe: Passion for Reason’

Before my taking over as Federal President, I was occasionally tempted to support the efforts of people in your country, like Ana Blandiana, personalities who ventured into assuming the communist past in a highly proactive manner, said the German President according to Agerpres.

In his speech he tackled various phenomena such as the divisions within the European Union on subjects of utmost importance, the referendum on UK’s possibly exiting the EU, the role of dialogue in the Union, but also equality among member states.

The German President voiced his opinion that Romania is one of the countries that has preserved its enthusiasm for the Union from the date of accession and is also a nation with no anti-EU political formations.

What differentiates newer from older [EU] countries is a different vision of Europe. Many people here in Romania have succeeded to preserve something of the enthusiasm of 2007. Only few in your country doubt the EU, which is not the case in other countries. Parties critical of Europe play almost no role [in Romania], he added.

Joachim Gauck also praised Romania’s evolution within the EU.

I know that the European Union too has an important contribution to the development of your country and this supports the reform process, like for instance in the judiciary. Early this year, the European Commission acknowledged Romania’s accomplishments but also highlighted the need for future measures. All those who get involved in your country for the rule of law and the independence of justice appreciate the European support, said the German President.

He added that the European Union is currently faced with a crisis of confidence. The antidote to an upsurge of negative affective states should be reason and dialogue, not mutual isolation, said the German politician.

The primary reason why common Europe exists is not that of allowing low cost travels from Athens to Dublin or (…) for diplomas issued in Bordeaux to be acknowledged [elsewhere]. Common Europe exists so that what was the least natural from the historical point of view in Europe remains sustainable reality – peace in freedom, he noted.

The German President also spoke of a European Union with equal countries.

No one should live under the impression that in Europe there are masters and apprentices. Whoever is a part of the community is a member altogether. The date of accession should only have a historical value, he added.

According to Joachim Gauck, if it wants to preserve its identity, the EU must undeniably be a community of values.

Beyond the intangible fundamental principles such as human rights, the freedom of expression and of religion, as well as equality between women and men, there is generous space for a diverse European Union, he underscored.

The German President concluded by describing a European Union of dialogue, even if opinions differ.

We must learn to resume the tradition of argumentative disputes (…) which made the foundation of European culture. (…) In the 21st century Europe we shouldn’t be less diverse, less capable of disputes and conflicts (…) so that each part of this beautiful large Europe does not inhabit only its own little universe where it is right from morning till evening, concluded the German President.

 

President Iohannis: Relationship with Germany is privileged and of strategic importance

 

President Klaus Iohannis has welcomed on Monday, at the Cotroceni Palace, his German counterpart Joachim Gauck who is on a state visit to Romania.

President Klaus Iohannis and his wife, Carmen Iohannis, have welcomed Joachim Gauck and his partner Daniela Schadt.

The welcoming ceremony took place on the official plateau of the Cotroceni Palace where, after the singing of the two state anthems, the German President saluted the Guards Regiment.

Klaus Iohannis’ delegation is formed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Lazar Comanescu, head of the Romanian Army General Staff, General Nicolae Ciuca, and the presidential advisers – Ion Oprisor, Bogdan Aurescu, Andrei Muraru, Leonard Orban, Cosmin Marinescu, Sergiu Nistor, MP Ovidiu Gant, Romanian ambassador to Germany Emil Hurezeanu, state secretary with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) Victor Micula, and Daniela Barsan, state adviser.

Iohannis and Gauck will participate, on Wednesday, in a meeting with German and Romanian businessmen, in order to discuss the means of continuous development of bilateral economic trade, including investments.

President Klaus Iohannis has stated, on Monday, at the Cotroceni Palace, that for Romania the relationship with Germany is a privileged one and one of strategic importance.

“For Romania, the relationship with Germany is a privileged one and one of strategic importance. It is based on a long history, both states being partners and allies within the European Union and within NATO. (…) The discussions with President Gauck have given opportunity to the reaffirming of the excellent state of Romanian-German bilateral relations from the perspective of political dialogue, economic and sectorial cooperation. (…) I have emphasized the importance that we grant to this cooperation and this relationship,” said President iohannis in a press conference held jointly with his German counterpart Joachim Gauck.

The Romanian head of state added that he assured President Gauck of the fact that Romania “remains committed to the European project and grants particular importance to bilateral cooperation for the promotion of common interests at the level of the European Union.”

“The current challenges that we are facing necessitate the identification of a responsible and solidary response,” added Iohannis.

The Romanian President underlined that for many years Germany has been Romania’s top commercial partner and the third largest investor in our country, while the potential for development is still high.

“I have shown in discussions that Romania’s position at the top of member-states in what regards the level of economic growth and the constant consolidation of the level of trust of the investment milieu, in regards to opportunities offered by the Romanian market, are elements that make Romania a very attractive objective for German investors. Furthermore, in order to stimulate investments in Romania, I will participate together with Mr. President on Wednesday in an economic event with representatives of relevant German companies,” Iohannis stated.

He showed that he has also approached the topic of a close Romanian-German collaboration for the promotion of the interests of persons belonging to the German minority in Romania, from a cultural and educational point of view.

“I am glad to note the particular appreciation of the President, of Germany, regarding the Romanian interethnic and intercultural model. We have convened to consolidate our cooperation in some concrete projects that would aim, for example, to restore the fortified churches in Transylvania which represent the patrimony of the Saxons, but, at the same time, our joint European patrimony,” said Iohannis.

The head of the Romanian state mentioned that he assured President Gauck of Romania’s solidary position in regards to the efforts of managing the effects of the migratory crisis, but also the efforts to combat the underlying causes. “We are in favor of a joint European response, and the solidarity of our country is manifested concretely by the fact that Romania is the second-largest contributor to Frontex, after Germany,” said Iohannis.

The Romanian President said that another topic approached related to the situation in the Republic of Moldova.

“Maintaining its stability and its European path, on the basis of consistent reforms, is our priority and we believe this objective should be of the entire Union,” said Iohannis.

Klaus Iohannis also pointed out the fact that during official talks, a topic discussed was that of the NATO summit in Warsaw, which must convey a strong message of solidarity, unity and cohesion in the current international context.

“I reiterated, in this context, the known position held by Romania regarding the balanced and proportional strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank, including its southern dimension, given the security developments in the Black Sea area,” Iohannis also stated.

Also, the Romanian head of state said that the authorities will continue anticorruption fight, as “this fight is vital for Romania”.

“The fight against corruption is extremely difficult and complicated for Romania. It is a fight that is going on not only in the judiciary, but I hope will go on in the plane of mentalities. It is only that the judiciary can work relatively faster than mentalities can change. It is very complicated for Romanian society to follow why some stages of the fight against corruption happen the way they do, but these matters are not reasons for hesitation. We will continue unabated the fight against corruption, because this fight is vital for Romania,” said Klaus Iohannis.

The Romanian head of state added that “only a political class that has reformed can be the guarantor for a healthy democratic development and a healthy economy in Romania.”

“I am convinced that there is wide support from Romanian voters for the anticorruption fight and in this sense, surely, we will see results in the electoral plane,” added Iohannis, mentioning the election of several people to local elected positions in the local elections of this year.

 

 Joachim Gauck: ´Germany is the number one commercial partner of Romania´

 

Germany is Romania’s number one commercial partner and German investors need framework conditions that are legal, viable, so that Romanians benefit from continuous development, said German President Joachim Gauck on Monday at the Cotroceni Palace. Gauck also stated that the judiciary is able to offer solutions to existing problems.

“Germany is the number one commercial partner of Romania. Over 8000 companies with German capital operate here in Romania and are trying to guarantee entrepreneurial success. In order to successfully benefit from existing potential and in order to offer Romanian citizens the developments that they need and the evolution that they need, beyond entrepreneurial spirit, (…) we need framework conditions that are legal, and viable. (…) Here I am at a subject which we will watch for developments closely. It is with great pleasure that I note you are supporting these reforms. That the Government does it, and that, especially in combating corruption, the judiciary has important achievements. The judiciary is able to offer solutions to existing problems. I would like to underline particularly the activity of the DNA [National Anticorruption Directorate] – which is a signal to the business community as well as the political quarters. We are very serious about the important pillar of the rule of law in the process of transformation and we consider even potential conflicts that might emerge inside the society, because we are backing up the activity of those fighting against corruption and making justice strong as the third state power,” said the German President according to Agerpres.

Joachim Gauck added that for Germany “it is a very important signal the one we are receiving from the Romanian state, as well as Romanian society, that of fidelity to Europe, especially in this difficult period.”

“Some Europeans wonder what is, in fact, the value of European unity and the EU? It is important for all of us to declare ourselves supporters of the EU,” said Gauck.

The German President showed that the two states have a joint experience, both in what regards dictatorship, as well as rebuilding democracy.

“In all these processed we were partners, the Federal Government allied itself with Romania when Romania wished to accede to the European Union,” said the German President.

 

Joachim Gauck: ´Germany’s position is that we desire firm respect for Minsk Agreements´

 

German President Joachim Gauck stated that, according to the positions already expressed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany “still firmly” desire that the Minsk Agreements be respected.

“Germany’s position, as I understood from the Chancellor and the Foreign Minister, is that we still firmly desire that the Minsk Agreements be respected. This is why there is no reason for major concern. If we read the texts of the German Minister of Foreign Affairs you will understand that it is not about distancing ourselves from those stipulated in previously concluded agreements. The German party is, in its turn, the one that, together with its partners, fought for the existence and conclusion of these Minsk Agreements. When at first we didn’t succeed, we picked up the effort and behold, we have managed to conclude this Agreement. It is about a conflict that seems hardly solved,” said the German President when asked about the maintaining of economic sanctions imposed on Russia.

Gauck added that “we need to make small, but visible steps”.

“We must think what these steps are. They are not, however, steps that deny in any measure those stipulated in Minsk. We have somehow fallen in this ingrate situation of explaining the positions of the German Government, yet I have done nothing but present what I, in turn, read in the press. So, I can only explain this matter as I see it, without divulging a state secret. Think of what I was saying earlier. Germany isn’t running away. Germany is on a path that would lead to participation in drawing up a solution. This is what is important to be known. We mustn’t wish necessarily to keep some things that were stipulated in one way or another,” said the German President.

The European Union should gradually eliminate sanctions imposed on Russia following the Ukrainian crisis if substantial progress is made in the peace process, said on Sunday the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Reuters reports.

He added that “an all-or-nothing approach, even though it sounds good, doesn’t work”.

 

 Klaus Iohannis: Warsaw Summit needs decisions that define NATO in the future

 

The NATO summit in Warsaw should transmit a powerful message of solidarity, unity and cohesion in the current international context, said President Klaus Iohannis, on Monday, at the Cotroceni Palace. The head of state stated that in the Warsaw Summit “NATO will have to make decisions that, on one hand, are very clear, and on the other, there is a need for decisions that will define NATO in the future.”

“Firstly, let me tell you we do not feel left alone, on the contrary, we feel very well supported by our NATO allies. I will not comment on those said by Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier, he will clarify this position and, surely, German diplomats will take the clarifying message forward. However, it is obvious that in the Warsaw Summit, NATO will have to make decisions that, on one hand, are very clear, and on the other, there is a need for decisions that will define NATO in the future. Surely, it is important, and I have emphasized this every time, that we, those in the eastern flank, expect from our allies to be considered equal allies, for the whole eastern flank to be considered important to NATO and a balanced approach and consolidation of the eastern flank exist. Obviously that we do not want this to the detriment of the southern flank, but we wish for two principles that NATO is using more and more lately in its explanations. One is the basic principle of NATO – 28 for 28 – and the other is the principle of 360-degree defence, meaning that the whole spectrum of possible threats is granted importance, said Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, when asked about the recent statements made by the German Foreign Minister regarding NATO’s eastern flank.

In his turn, the German President Joachim Gauck stated that he is anxiously waiting for the decisions of the NATO Warsaw Summit and that together with the partners in Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe a joint decision will be made at the end of the reunion.

“The Summit will take place in Warsaw, I am anxiously awaiting the decisions. Sometimes German diplomacy, when it comes to Eastern Europe, is seen with critical eyes because it tries to open and maintain open the doors of dialogue with Russia. It is not about defeatism or escapism, meaning we do not want to run from our responsibility. We all know where the challenges come from. This is why I am firmly convinced that together with the partners in Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe a joint decision will be made at the end of the reunion,”said Gauck.

The German President added that “nobody, not in the south, nor in the east, should have doubts regarding the capacity and functioning of the NATO alliance.”

 

 PM Ciolos, President Gauck discuss investment opportunities in Romania

 

Romania’s Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos on Monday introduced to visiting Germany’s President Joachim Gauck the current business opportunities provided by Romania to foreign investors, at their meeting at the Romanian Government House in Bucharest.

The Government says in a press statement that Ciolos mentioned his intention to visit the German lands of Bavaria, Baden-Wurttemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia in an attempt to expand bilateral economic cooperation.

“Talks highlighted the very important part of the German community of Romania as well as Romanians and Romanian-born ethnic Germans settled in Germany in building social, cultural, economic and political bridges,” the Government says.

The two high-ranking officials also discussed some of the main domestic and external challenges facing the European Union. “Romania and Germany will have an intensified dialogue in order to capitalise on the European design, while placing at the core the wishes of their citizens.”

Ciolos and Gauck also exchanged opinions on Romania continuing efforts to understand and take responsibility for its communist past.

“President Gauck shared his personal experience in the area. The Romanian prime minister thanked the German president for his visit to Romania, commending once again Gauck for his advocacy of the values of democracy and citizens’ freedoms,” said the Government.

 

President Gauck visits Sibiu

 

President Klaus Iohannis appreciated the visit of his German counterpart Joachim Gauck to Sibiu on Tuesday as a special event for this Transylvanian city and for the bilateral relations.

Iohannis delivered a speech at the Democrat Forum of Germans of Romania (FDGR), praising the excellent relations between this ethnic minority, to which he belongs, and the Romanian majority.

The two heads of state visited together the City Hall, the Brukenthal High School, and the Evangelical Church.

Sibiu Mayor Astrid Fodor welcomed the Presidents and explained the importance of Sibiu, a former European Capital of Culture.

Iohannis then guided his guest to the German language Brukenthal High School, where he had taught physics for several years.

Bishop Reinhardt Guib met the two heads of state at the Evangelical Church, they were actually following in the footsteps of three German presidents, who visited this cathedral of the Protestant community.

Iohannis and Gauck also entered the nearby House of Apprentices, then walked to the FDGR premises.

The event in Sibiu was also attended by Germany’s Ambassador to Romania Werner Hans Lauk, Romania’s Ambassador to Germany Emil Hurezeanu, Bernard Fabritius, the first German MP with Romanian roots, and Romanian-born German musician Peter Maffay.

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