The European Union is the most ambitious and successful political project that the humanity has ever developed. It is a project founded on mutual understanding and collaboration across peoples and countries: a project that has provided us with the longest period of peace in history. When someone says Europe, one thinks of solidarity and peace. And this is the significance of our celebration today.
The past years have been challenging for us all. We have seen wars unfolding at our doors, massive migration waves across our borders and an economic crisis that cut through the core of our Union. Now it is becoming clearer and clearer that we withstood all these challenges and came up with our heads high. The troubles are not behind us yet, but we are nearly there. And now it is up to Romania as well to play its part and steer the ship towards calm water.
This year is a special year for Romania, as it celebrates 100 since the union of 1918 and shortly after it will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU. In an earlier message published in this magazine, I was expressing my wish that these milestones will empower and provide the driving force needed for the country to make a great leap ahead. I hold my belief that this is still the case: Romania can make the most of the opportunities provided. It is my special will that it is able to use the significant amount of EU funds at its disposal – over EUR 30 billion for 2014-2020. There are still significant challenges ahead with regards to the use of these funds. But I am certain that the Romanian authorities will make the efforts needed in order to bring our country where it belongs: among the most prosperous and respected nations”.
As we all know, Romania has already made great achievements. After all, it is the fastest growing economy in the EU. The country has grabbed many of the opportunities put forward: EU investments created tens of thousands of jobs, connected thousands of schools to Internet and constructed thousands of km of roads. Yet there is so much more that can still be achieved and those billions of euro in investment can truly make a difference; not only for Romania, but for Europe as well. We are all connected and a strong Romania means a stronger Europe.
Only a few days ago, my colleagues and I proposed a new multi-annual budget for the EU after 2020, a plan for a Europe ready to respond effectively to the new challenges it is facing. This plan is now with the EU Member States and the European Parliament, which will have to come to an agreement over it. And it will be up to Romania, during its Presidency, in particular during the Summit in Sibiu, to guide the discussions towards the best outcome for Europe. What an amazing opportunity for our country to make a long-lasting contribution to our collective future!
Our country has great opportunities ahead – to use the funds available for investment and provide for its people the public goods that they need and to steer the European project towards better grounds. I hope we will make the most of these opportunities.
Happy Europe Day to everyone!
Happy Europe Day România!