The Fourth of July reception offered by the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest on Friday evening marked the celebration of 240 years of independence but also of the Romanian-American partnership, under the “we all breathe the same air” motto.
In fact, on Friday, several hours before the reception attended by several thousand guests, U.S. Ambassador Hans Klemm had an environmentalist message for Romanians. The diplomat talked about nature and about how important environment protection is, this being the reason, he explained, why the U.S. Independence Day was going to be celebrated in a novel way at the Bucharest reception.
“Our President Kennedy once said that “We all breathe the same air.” That is to say, the air we breathe in Yosemite, California is no different from the air that we breathe at Sleeping Bear Dunes, in Michigan, where I am from, and is no different from the air we breathe in Apuseni. Just as we share the same air, Romania and America share a common interest to make the world safe,” Hans Klemm stated.
In fact, several hours after publishing this message, in the speech he gave at the reception, Hans Klemm encouraged President Iohannis for them to jointly look “for ways of collaborating in order to protect forests, plateaus, pasture lands, mountains, rivers and creeks, flora and fauna.” He quoted Abraham Lincoln, who signed legislation protecting the lands that currently constitute the Yosemite National Park “so they could be used and preserved for the benefit of mankind, in order to be held for public use, resort and recreation… inalienable for all time.”
The ceremony that took place in the U.S. Embassy’s garden – where the decorum was in line with the theme chosen, namely protecting natural parks – was opened by Ronald Hawkins, the U.S. Embassy’s Counsellor for Public Affairs, who welcomed the guests in Romanian and English. Subsequently, a squad of U.S. marines marched in front of the stage. Florin Raduta, winner of the X Factor song competition sang the two national anthems, after which the U.S. Ambassador to Romania and the Romanian President gave their speeches.
As a sign of homage, the portraits of U.S. presidents that marked the destiny of this nation in its first 150 years of existence were displayed on the embassy building, behind the stage. The portraits of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodor Roosevelt were projected, portraits that are sculpted in granite at Mount Rushmore. The famous “stars & stripes”, the American flag, was standing high between the portraits. A huge panorama of the Grand Canyon was displayed on the opposite building, alongside the 50 flags of the states that make up “The Greatest Nation in the World” as American like to call their country.
U.S. Ambassador Hans Klemm: “If we work earnestly together, the potential of our partnership is boundless”
“The first is to commemorate the signing by American patriots on July 4, 1776, of the Declaration of Independence. In that document, our Founders asserted not only that all are created equal with the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but that the British king was destructive of these rights. In response, our leaders declared two additional rights; the right to abolish the then existing form of colonial administration, and the right to organize a new government, one instituted among the people, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. As such, not only did those American patriots declare independence 240 years ago, but they also declared that American governance would be democratic and based on the rule of law”.
“This year America also celebrates the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service. Like many great ideas, the National Park System in the United States developed over time, with many contributions, and continues to evolve. Its roots began more than 150 years ago, in the midst of the American Civil War, when President Lincoln signed into law the protection of the land now known as Yosemite National Park, in order for it to “be used and preserved for the benefit of mankind, to be held for public use, resort, and recreation…inalienable for all time.” During his presidency, Theodore Roosevelt aggressively set aside land throughout the nation, land that eventually became national parks, national forests, national monuments, and preserves. As a result of this expansion, America needed an organization to administer these federally-protected areas. For that purpose, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service. Presidents ever since have established new protected areas, including President Obama, who oversaw the opening of seven new national parks in 2015, and inaugurated the newest park just last month. President Obama’s objective in creating these new parks was the same as President Wilson’s, “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein, and to leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
Last but not least, the U.S. Ambassador to Romania emphasised in his speech: “We are also celebrating tonight the strength of the U.S.-Romania Strategic Partnership, and our bonds as allies, and as friends. In the past year, under our partnership, we have jointly invested in the security of the Trans-Atlantic area through the completion of the Ballistic Missile Defence site in Deveselu. Our militaries exercised together frequently to deter threats to Romania and the Black Sea region. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines fought together on battlefields far from Romania. And our law enforcement personnel collaborated deeply to counter terrorism, to counter proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to stop organized crime, to stop the trafficking of persons and drugs, and to support Romania’s fight against corruption”.
“Under our strategic partnership, we also advanced cooperation in energy security, political coordination, and consular matters. You asked me to focus additional energy on the economic dimension of our partnership, to increase trade and investment flows between our two countries,” Ambassador Klemm told President Iohannis. “In response, we brought trade missions to Romania, are supporting Romanian entrepreneurs in IT, education and ecotourism, and have encouraged American investors to consider the economic potential that Romania offers, just as we have encouraged Romanian investors to consider America. And to yet further broaden the scope of our partnership, we jointly launched new work this year in cyber security and, most promisingly, to redouble our promotion of joint collaboration, and exchanges of students and scholars, in science, technology, education and culture – and possibly energy, medical and agricultural research as well,” Hans Klemm added.
The U.S. Ambassador also expressed his conviction that “if we work earnestly together, the potential of our partnership is boundless. With your leadership, Mr. President, we can together promote security, promote democracy, and promote prosperity, not only for Romania and America, but for the entire Trans-Atlantic region and beyond. Together, as allies, as partners and as friends, we can powerfully contribute to a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. And, in accordance with the theme of our celebration tonight, our national parks, we can seek ways to work together to protect our forests, our plateaus, our grasslands, our mountains, our rivers and streams, and the flora and wildlife that depend on the health of the environment, for generations to come”.
In addition, later on, the American diplomat also insisted on this partnership in a statement broadcast by the public broadcaster, responding to a question about former President Traian Basescu and Senate Speaker Calin Popescu-Tariceanu’s criticism of his interest in Romania’s judiciary system and Parliament. Insisting he was speaking on behalf of the U.S. Administration, Klemm said that making some public remarks was to the interest of the United States and of the U.S.-Romania Strategic Partnership. He called on the Romanian lawmakers to help consolidate the laws against corruption, instead of undermining existing ones.
President Klaus Iohannis: United States is a guarantor of Romania’s security, a sound ally and a reliable partner, linked by strong friendship and shared values
Klaus Iohannis started his speech quoting Kennedy and Grigore Antipa. “I notice the inspired choice for the words of John F. Kennedy – “We all breathe the same air” – as the motto of this year’s reception,” Iohannis said. He went on to say: “In my turn, I would like to remind, in the context of the attention given to protecting the environment and of the global concern for combating climate change, the visionary words of Grigore Antipa, Romania’s great natural science savant, who said that “Man can rule nature as long as he pays attention to her laws.””
“Romania has high appreciation for the excellent relation of friendship and Strategic Partnership with the United States of America, based on the shared values of freedom, democracy, individual rights and the rule of law,” the Romanian Head of State emphasised at the start of his speech.
“The United States is for Romania a guarantor of her security, a sound ally and a reliable partner, linked by a strong friendship, shared values, principles and interests, and a strong commitment to the unity and strength of the Euro-Atlantic family. The U.S.-Romania Strategic Partnership, which has grown stronger over its history of nearly two decades, is expected to become wider and deeper, to generate economic opportunities for the citizens of our countries.”
Iohannis also insisted on the unprecedented level of the bilateral cooperation in defence and security: “We have carried out together the strategic project of the missile defence system in Deveselu, a significant contribution to our and NATO’s shared security and an undisputable benchmark of the excellent cooperation between Romania and America.”
He added that “a successful political and military relation cannot reach its full potential without an equivalent of similar ambition in economy and trade.”
“The cooperation with the United States for the rule of law has been very important for Romania’s substantial progress over the past years in consolidating its judiciary system and fighting corruption,” President Iohannis mentioned.
“We will respect our NATO collective security commitments and we will continue to cooperate with the United States in order to maintain stability and security in the region and at international level, including through the management of the new threats.”
“The NATO Summit in Warsaw will have to adopt important decisions concerning the consolidation of collective defence and of the Alliance’s deterrence posture and ensuring forward and balanced Allied presence throughout the eastern flank, in relation to the security challenges in the region.”
“We are counting on the same sustained and privileged collaboration with the United States of America, alongside other allies, in transposing the Summit’s decisions into reality.”
“A successful political-military relationship, such as the one we have between our countries, cannot attain its full potential in the absence of a similar correspondent in the level of ambitions on the economic and trade plane. Romania is in a favourable economic situation and we have taken important steps to capitalise on the substantial potential for bilateral economic cooperation. We are working jointly for the improvement of the business environment, for extending good governance in the Romanian economy and the efficient and transparent functioning of Romanian institutions, so as to create as many business and investment opportunities as possible for Romanian and American companies,” the President added in his speech.
“Of course, the sustainable development of the Strategic Partnership cannot be achieved without a similar preoccupation with developing cooperation on the plane of education, innovation and research,” Klaus Iohannis said.
“The training of the young generation represents the measure of our success in carrying forward the Strategic Partnership and all that we are currently building. Complementary to the collaboration that is taking place through the Fulbright Commission, this year we laid the basis of enhanced cooperation in the aforementioned domains and we have outlined ambitious objectives.”
“Romania understands to closely coordinate herself with American partners, including in what concerns the regional dimension of promoting our values and of consolidating institutional transformations. Romania and the United States of America have recently decided to develop cooperation in the development assistance domain, especially for neighbouring states, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and the Western Balkans. This enhanced interaction, rooted in the expertise that Romania has gained in the last 25 years from its EU and NATO accession processes, will be reflected in an ever-growing number of joint project opportunities in domains of mutual interest such as good governance, economic growth and civil society, for the support of partnered neighbouring states,” the Romanian Head of State added.
He continued by emphasising that this September will mark 5 years since the adoption of the Joint Statement on Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century, while next year will mark 20 years since the start of the Strategic Partnership.
“These are important opportunities for making the most out of what we accomplished together, but especially for deepening and expanding our partnership.”
“Romania will continue her efforts to strengthen and consolidate her capabilities and role as pillar of democracy, rule of law, prosperity and security in the region and will closely work with the United States of America to attain these objectives,” the Head of State underscored in his speech.
“70 years ago, my grandparents and great-grandparents, like those of many other Romanians, were waiting for the Americans. This was their dream. You have arrived and my generation has the joy of having you here, now, as reliable partner, and I want the future to make our relationship even stronger,” President Iohannis concluded.