Foreign Affairs Minister Lazar Comanescu said on Thursday that the time has come for Romania to take action so as to prove that it is capable to play a role in the European and Euro-Atlantic core.
“It is time for Romania not only to express the desire for rapprochement to the European and Euro-Atlantic core, but also to take action to prove that it has the necessary capabilities to play a role in such a core. (…) It is very important for Romania to capitalize on its potential as regional or sub-regional actor,” Comanescu said at the presentation of the Foreign Ministry’s 2016 activity report.
He said that during his term in office efforts continued to strengthen Romania’s role and assertiveness in pursuit of its main foreign policy goals, in its capacity as a EU member, as a member of the North Atlantic Alliance, and under the strategic partnership with the US. “Along all three dimensions things have been done in the Foreign Ministry which are there to stay and which will be found to have been of substance,” the Foreign Minister underscored.
Regarding the relationship with the EU, Comanescu said that preparing the ground for Romania’s taking over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union had been a priority in the Ministry’s activity. He also mentioned Romania’s “essential” role in the achievement of the EU – Canada agreement on lifting visa requirements.
“This is key to the EU – Canada and Romania – Canada relationship, but it is also very important for having similar issues settled with other important partners. In the first place, this is about our strategic partner, the US, and I want the Euro-Canadian relevant experience to be a source of inspiration for the settlement of this other subject,” said the Romanian chief diplomat.
Lazar Comanescu also remarked that Romania had an essential role in the shaping of EU’s global strategy on foreign policy and security, “revealing the importance of EU’s Eastern Neighborhood and of the Black Sea region.”
The Foreign Minister also highlighted the involvement of the Foreign Ministry in the parliamentary election abroad.
“Another thing we did and which is worth mentioning: this was a special year, we had elections. (…) Outside country borders, this year’s parliamentary elections took place in a legislative framework which was not devised by the Foreign Ministry, but however I think that the Ministry’s response to the various needs and requests of our off-shore fellow Romanians has met their expectations and I thank everyone involved,” said Romania’s top diplomat.
“Romanian-US partnership – highly consistent; there are but opportunities to strengthen it”
Foreign Affairs Minister Lazar Comanescu said on Thursday that the Romanian-US strategic partnership is “so consistent” that there are opportunities only to strengthen it.
“If we refer to the Romanian-US strategic partnership, it is so consistent that, in my opinion, we cannot see there but opportunities to further strengthen it. All we have to do is to act to complete even more this highly consistent and solid partnership,” Comanescu said at the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) activity report.
In respect to the manner in which the relations between the US and Europe will change with the Trump administration, the Romanian chief diplomat said that both sides are aware of the need for a strong transatlantic connection.
“Before the elections certain statements are made, after the elections statements are made, until the people are installed and they make other statements and voice opinions. I believe that on both sides of the Atlantic people are very aware of how important is the continuation of a strong transatlantic connection, but also the consolidation of this transatlantic connection and I have this confidence, namely that these things will also reflect in what various governments will do after the elections that take place in one country or another,” the minister added.
Cooperation spirit agreed with Szijjarto in Bucharest is not reflected in recent approaches
Lazar Comanescu also said on Thursday said he has told “very clearly” his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto, when he met him, that the cooperation spirit agreed together in Bucharest is not reflected in approaches such as the gestures of some Hungarian officials in respect to Romania.
“I believe that he understood the message very well. I don’t want to get into the details of the discussion we had, which was friendly and honest. Ministers, as ministers as they are, sometimes do things that must be done because they are asked to. (…) Let us not imagine that they are the only ones who have the initiative. Beyond this, I have been very clear in sending the message that the cooperation spirit which we agreed on together when my friend was here in Bucharest is not reflected in such approaches and that it is time to reflect on the manner in which we react, act, position ourselves, so that, if we want to go forward, we should avoid encumbering this moving forward,” Comanescu said, at the presentation of the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) activity report.
He reiterated that the existence of some minorities in a country or another must be connection bridges between the respective countries, “not factors of dissent.” Moreover, the minister showed that minorities must be factors of strengthening cooperation .
“This must be understood very well by all political factors and I also mean here domestic factors. (…) I am not a politician, but I would allow myself to say that, including in election campaign, politicians must be more careful in respect to bringing into discussion for populist-electoral reasons sensitive matters. It doesn’t matter from what direction, but I believe we must be aware of this thing,” the head of Romanian diplomacy added.
Lazar Comanescu also said that the manner in which Romania reacted on this topic has been hailed.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto asked diplomats of all Hungary’s foreign missions not to take part in the festivities organised by Romania’s embassies on 1 December. A few days later, on 6 December, Hungary’s Deputy PM Zsolt Semjen said that the diplomatic relations between Romania and Hungary aren’t the best and they worsened after 2012.