President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker told the beginning of a dialogue with Romanian citizens on the future of the European Union on Thursday in Bucharest that there is almost a love story between him and Romania.
“I am very glad to be in Romania. Last time I came here was in 2003, and I will be leaving quite soon. I would like to stay longer, and I guess I will be coming back soon because I am tired of talking about Romania without having seen much of it. There is an almost love story between me and Romania. In 1997, when Romania was accepted as a candidate member, I was the chairman of the European Council. When Romania acceded, I was holding the Luxembourgian presidency of the council; I am proud that I could do what I did for Romania and Europe. In one word, I love this country,” Juncker told the event hosted by the National Museum of Arts.
Given that 92 percent of the attendees responded to a questionnaire handed out in the debate that the lives of Romanians turned for the better after Romania’s accession to the European Union, Juncker said: “I love this country.”
“I know many Romanians in Brussels and Luxembourg as well and even Romanians in Romania. And I know that Romania has encountered despair and deceptions along its European journey, as adjustments were not easy, particularly for the neediest of Romanians. I have always admired your courage to think, tell and make things,” he said.
Juncker went on to say that Romania is a country of freedom, a country that paid with blood for the freedom it gained.
At the end of the dialogue with Romanian citizens, as a new questionnaire revealed that 43 percent of the participants believe Romania’s voice is insufficiently heard in the EU, Juncker pointed out that Romania is no second class country.
“In the national debates in Romania I often hear that. But that’s not true. Let me give you an example: since April, two vice presidents and the president of the European Commission as well as European commissioners have come to Romania, which we have not done in any other member state. So get this idea that Romania is not an equal to the other member states out of your mind. This state’s dignity is the same as the others’. I listen to Romania because I love it,” Juncker concluded.