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April 22, 2021

H.E. Mr. Vassilis Papadopoulos, Ambassador of Hellenic Republic in Romania: Romania and Greece, traditional friends and allies, enhance their relationship in all fields of mutual interest, towards a prosperous future within the ΕU

On the 25th of March, we, the Greek people, celebrate the 197th anniversary of the 1821 Revolution against the Ottoman rule that led to the founding of the Hellenic Republic. In Romania, the celebration has a special significance for the Greek people, since the first heroic battles took place here, in Dragasani and Focsani. It is of great importance the fact that the struggle for Greek Independence started from the Principalities, being organised and supported by “Filiki Etaireia”, a patriotic association created by the prosperous and important Greek diaspora. Nowadays, the flourishing Hellenic community in Romania is contributing remarkably to the creation of close ties between our two countries.

Due to our longstanding friendship and our historic and cultural ties, our high-level political cooperation is growing even stronger. Our two countries work together in bilateral, European, Euro-Atlantic and multilateral level and also within the framework of many international and regional organizations. Since the 1990’s, Greece spared no effort to strongly support Romania in its aspirations to join both NATO and EU. Today, our two countries are strong partners and allies within the EU and NATO, maintain excellent relations and are connected with strong ties of solidarity and multifaceted cooperation in many areas of common interest. We both support the strengthening of the European project by means of enhancing the unity and cohesion in the EU. In this respect, we both believe that european integration should remain firmly focused on a set of principles of utmost importance for both the Union itself and its citizens, namely democracy, solidarity and the rule of law. Moreover, Greece remains a steady supporter of the accession of Romania to the Schengen area. Our countries, aiming at consolidating stability and development in our neighbourhood, also work closely within the framework of the South East Cooperation Process (SEECP), the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) and the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC). Greece and Romania also work jointly towards achieving the diversification of energy supply sources and routes and towards developing important regional energy infrastructure projects, including natural gas interconnectors and relevant international projects (ΤΑP, IGB/IBR) as well as the enhancement of the role of the Energy Union in Southeastern Europe, aiming at the creation of energy networks which will connect Southeastern Europe with Central and Northern Europe. A few days ago, on March the 12th,  at the Meeting of the Trilateral Format of the Ministers Foreign Affairs of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania (held in Bucharest), Ministers Kotzias, Zaharieva and Melescanu stressed once more our three countries΄ firm support for a stronger, consolidated, cohesive and prosperous European Union and underlined the key importance of our neighbouring regions for the security and stability in Europe. They also acknowledged that a safe, peaceful and prosperous neighbourhood of our countries is of direct interest for the European and the Euro-Atlantic area as a whole. Last, but not least, they stressed the interest of our three member states to pursue a close dialogue on EU affairs towards the common objective to consolidate the European project.

As far as the economy field is concerned ,the  continuous  inflow  of  Greek  Direct Investments,  despite  the  crisis,  represents one  of  the  core  characteristics  of  the economic and trade relations between the two countries. At the end of 2017, the invested capital of Greek companies in Romania was estimated  around  1,82  billion  euros.  The number  of  registered  companies  of  Greek capital or participation reached the amount of 6,988.  The  total  value  of  the  Greek Direct Investments in Romania exceeds the amount of  4  billion  euros.  According  to these data, Greece ranks 7th among the foreign investors  in  Romania.  About  20,000 job positions have been created in Romania by Greek  businesses  during  the  years.  The bilateral   Chamber   of   Commerce   and Industry,  in  Bucharest,  contributes  significantly towards the strengthening of the economic ties between the two countries.

Another very important field of collaboration  between  Greece  and  Romania is tourism. According  to  the  Association  of Tourist Offices of Romania, Greece steadily remains  a summer destination  for  more than  1,3  million  Romanian  tourists.  The flights  between Bucharest  and  Athens  are frequent, since 3 airline companies are currently connecting the two capitals. We hope that  the  strong  cultural  links  between  our countries  will inspire  also  more  Greek tourists  to  visit  Romania.

In the field of culture and education, we should underline the valuable contribution of the Bucharest Branch of the Hellenic Foundation of Culture, the outstanding Department of Greek Studies of the University of Bucharest, the Lectorate of Greek Language of the University of Iasi, the Greek School of Bucharest “Athena”, as well as the educational and cultural activity of the Hellenic Union of Romania and the Greek Cultural Association “Nostos”. Furthermore, a centuries old tradition of Publishing Houses is still active, promoting publications concerning Greek history, culture and politics to Romanian readers. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that at least 1,000 Greek students study at Romanian Universities.

Last but not least, the Greek presence in Romania is also enhanced by an active Diaspora. The Hellenic Union of Romania represents the historical community, which, inspired by an outstanding past, looks forward to the future with dynamism and creativity.

In conclusion, allow me to stress my optimism that our long standing friendship and our fruitful multilevel cooperation will create mutually advantageous results and more opportunities for a prosperous future that our two countries deserve.

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