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Ana Birchall, Minister Delegate for European Affairs: Europe Day 2017 – the past as prologue

We celebrate today Europe Day, a moment that marks the 67th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, made by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950. His initiative inspired the desire to build solidarity, peace and prosperity on the continent in light of the bleak experiences ushered by two terrible wars. The Schuman Declaration became the symbol of peace and unity in Europe, proposing an idealist new design of political cooperation which would make war between Europe’s nations “not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible”. This vision has effectively laid down the foundation of a community of European states, based on common values and principles, which we know today as the European Union.

On 9 May, we celebrate the Europe that our founding fathers have envisaged, but we also celebrate the Europe that changes as every year goes by. Whether there are new challenges in the global context that require adjustments in EU’s list of priorities, or societal developments that require innovations in policies influence over citizens’ lives, what we need to safeguard on a permanent basis are the core EU values that should prevail after each test.

Together with other like-minded European partners, Romania is convinced that the new breath of Europe can be achieved through concerted efforts. In an environment where Europe is facing unprecedented challenges that are transnational by their nature, it is vital that we seek to find common answers.

The recent anniversary summit in Rome (25 March) has marked a new chapter in the history of the European Union, one in which a new vision for the future of Europe will need to be defined. I am pleased to see that the Rome Declaration, adopted by EU27 leaders, have reiterated the commitment to the European project, as well as the determination to act in a united manner in overcoming current challenges.

The EU has a major responsibility in playing an enhanced role for peace and security, in our region and the world. To fulfill it, we need to cooperate, to tear down walls not to build them, to speak on a single voice, to consolidate together a real Union of trust, security, defense, welfare, cohesion and democratic freedoms. The current debate on Europe’s future must be based on the same universal democratic principles of solidarity, following the successful example of the initiators of the European project. Romania will continue to be fully committed to a deeper European integration, expressing its strong attachment towards European values and principles.

This year, Romania is celebrating 10 years since its integration in the European Union. This gives us the opportunity to proudly look backwards and with hope forwards. As one of the youngest members of the European community, Romania has not only reaped the benefits of EU membership, but has also substantially contributed to advancing the integration process and consolidating EU’s international role. As we prepare to take over, for the first time, the Presidency of the EU Council in 2019, we are committed to raise Romania’s profile as a wise facilitator and prominent contributor to the decisions and to the implementation of policies designed for the entire European community. The EU Council Presidency is always a challenge, yet an excellent opportunity that we would like to use in order to strengthen and deepen EU core principles and values, with a firm commitment for a united and more cohesive Union.

Nevertheless, in this time of celebration, the Union was also compelled to start the preparations for negotiations following the recent decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European community. This decision places a difficult task ahead of us, one that we have to address constructively, preserving the interests of our Member States, of our businesses and of all our citizens. This complex and unprecedented process, however, should neither hinder the EU from pursuing its political objectives and priorities, nor serve as a trigger for disintegration, but ever more a reason to preserve and consolidate our unity.

The European project is in our hearts and minds for over 60 years. It has generated outstanding improvements, the likes of which would not have been possible otherwise. What we need to keep in mind is that without the support of the European citizens, the purpose of our actions is depleted of its essence. Therefore, we need to work not only in such a way that we preserve the achievements of the European integration process, but also inspire and create a future Europe that is endowed with the capacity to offer new opportunities for our citizens and for generations to come. The whole world needs a strong Europe like never before. Through our shared vision and common action, it is our duty to cultivate and to promote a lasting European Union for the future of our children.

Happy Europe Day!

 

 

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