An authentic democracy cannot be functional without a strong legislative body, and a modern Romania cannot develop without a consistent legislative framework, President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday in his speech delivered to the plenary session of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies on the occasion of the double celebration of 140 years since the proclamation of Romania’s State Independence and of Europe Day.
The Head of State added that the MPs are bound to restore confidence in the legislature and asked them not to consider just a momentary electoral gain when they propose laws.
“You, ladies and gentlemen deputies and senators, have an essential role: when putting on the agenda laws with a major impact on the future of the Romanians, do not think only about the immediate benefits of certain measures, do not just think about a momentary electoral gain. Ask yourselves how Romania will look in 5, in 10 years with the laws you are adopting now. Ask yourselves if in the coming years, Romania will become stronger or, on the contrary, will be weakened by the impact of the laws you passed. You have the responsibility and the capacity to restore the citizens’ confidence in Parliament – this fundamental institution of democracy, you have this responsibility and I am calling on you to exert it. I am calling upon you to make this a political goal worthy of the centennial anniversary of the Great War and the Great Union,” Iohannis told the Parliament plenum.
“Therefore, your mission is essential to the progress of the country, because the performance and stability of the state’s institutional architecture depend on its fulfilment,” the President said in his speech.
Klaus Iohannis said that the achievement of Romania’s independence was the expression of political consensus and popular support, “proof of cooperation between the state authorities and all the bodies of society.” The Head of State mentioned that independence was achieved through the diplomatic efforts of the politicians who represented Romania at the Peace Congress of Berlin.
“Romania’s independence was also strengthened through a constitutional, legislative, institutional and economic modernization that spanned several decades. Throughout this process, the responsibility and commitment of the political forces towards a European-specific progress played an extremely important role,” said the head of state.
“The message the exceptional deeds of our forefathers convey to us is that a national project built around the major national values needs a visionary political class, but also the latter’s cohesion with society. Independence and the Great Union, the two fundamental pillars of the existence and development of modern Romania and, more recently, European and Euro-Atlantic integration, show us that the achievement of our fundamental objectives is not possible without Romania’s active participation in European and international political processes,” said President Klaus Iohannis.
“Ten years since joining the European Union, the massive rallies in February this year expressed the commitment of a new generation to refill the notions of freedom, rule of law and democracy with meaning and significance. Throughout their history, Romanians have shown in various ways the direction and values they want to adhere to. It’s the role of the political class to hear and understand their voices and to turn them into practice through a relationship of trust among politicians, institutions and citizens, worthy of Romania’s European status,” said Klaus Iohannis.
“February’s protests expressed a new generation’s commitment to freedom, rule of law and democracy”
President Klaus Iohannis also stated that the protests staged in February, against government emergency ordinance no.13 (OUG 13), represented a new generation’s commitment to values such as freedom, rule of law and democracy, and emphasised that the role of the political class is to hear and understand the protesters’ voices.
“It was in the hands of the 1848 generation to take the first steps toward modernising Romania. It was the task of the Forty-Eighters’ descendants to carry further the ideals of national independence and unity and to achieve them. It was the youngsters’ sacrifice in 1989 that changed Romania’s path, setting it on a democratic route subsequently followed by a strong pro-European and pro-North Atlantic commitment. Ten years since acceding to the European Union, the great protests that took place in February this year have expressed a new generation’s commitment to reload, with content and meaning, the notions of freedom, rule of law and democracy,” Klaus Iohannis stated before lawmakers.
The Head of State emphasised that it’s the role of the political class to hear and understand the voices of the new generation, but also to bring them to fruition through a relationship of trust between politicians, institutions and citizens, a relationship worthy of Romania’s European status.
“Today, just like in the past, rather than being interested in solemn political statements, citizens are interested in the way the actions of the authorities or public institutions benefit their lives and the future of their children. An authentic democracy cannot be functional without a strong Parliament. And a modern Romania cannot develop without a coherent legislative framework. Hence, your mission is essential for the progress of the country, because the stability of the state’s institutional architecture is dependent on you accomplishing this mission,” President Iohannis stated in Parliament.
“Frequent and better communication needed on what EU concretely means”
Frequent and better communication is needed on what the European Union means to Romanians, “bringing forth the often-ignored benefits of being part of this great European project,” President Klaus Iohannis also told the plenary session of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies on the occasion of the double celebration of 140 years since the proclamation of Romania’s State Independence and of Europe Day.
Iohannis said that the benefits of Romania’s EU accession are indisputable and difficult to challenge even by the staunchest Eurosceptics: a steady increase in GDP, the doubling of export value, a significant increase in the average salary, gross added value in the economy, industry and services, despite the economic crisis interrupting the upward trend. Moreover, Romania is a net beneficiary of European grants. From 1 January 2007 to 28 February 2017, the difference between the absorbed grants and the payments to the Union’s budget stood at 27.7 billion euro in favour of Romania. All this is positively reflected in the quality of life,” said the Head of State.
In his opinion, Romania could have done more during this period, from narrowing the gap among regions to the actual absorption of European grants and finding sustainable solutions to diminish the exodus of human resources.
“But it is not the European Union to blame for these shortcomings, the responsibility is domestic and mainly lies with our governments’ limited capacity to make the most of the advantages of being a member of the Union,” said Iohannis.
The President stressed that, “indisputably”, there is no other option for Romania but to develop inside the European Union.
The President stated that Romania wants to be part of a European Union that “consistently respects and guarantees the values and principles that have ensured over time the foundation of the European construction and which are capable of generating concrete results in the major themes of direct interest to its citizens.”
“It is Romania’s major interest to be part of such a Union, in full compliance with its constituent principles. Such a Union can successfully meet current and future challenges and can guarantee better development prospects for its member states and its citizens, in contrast to a fragmented, artificially divided Europe,” argued Klaus Iohannis.
He stressed that Romania strongly supports the deepening of European integration.
“Romania’s goal is to be at the side of those member states that are working towards the consolidation of the European Union. Romania’s joining the Eurozone, as soon as possible when all the conditions are met, is in my opinion an essential step towards the consolidation of Romania’s role at European level. As the example of other countries shows us, we will stand to gain from economic convergence, both from the preparation needed for the adoption of the common currency, but also from that moment onwards. Also, Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area will bring added value not just for Romanians but for the Union’s entire free movement area,” Iohannis said.