We have witnessed a “remarkable boost” in our relation with France in the recent years, and Romania’s strategic partnership with this country will be further strengthened, President Klaus Iohannis stated on Saturday, on the occasion of the reception of July 14, the National Day of France, in Bucharest.
“For the past ten years our countries have been in a strategic partnership (…) which we will continue to strengthen and make it more concrete,” said the head of the state, who also reminded on the same occasion that he welcomed to the Cotroceni Presidential Palace both Francois Hollande, the former President of France, and the current President, Emmanuel Macron.
“The friendship between Romania and France is a special one, thanks to the two already traditional communities acting as true ambassadors for both countries, in the daily life,” said Iohannis.
Iohannis spoke about the contribution Romanians brought to the French society. “The Romanian community in France proved to be an important contributor to the economic and social dynamics of the French society, while the French community in Romania, for many French people are still here today, and I am glad that they are, is one that is very much alive and active in the economic environment and not only,” he pointed out.
He also spoke about one of the concepts of the French vision – fraternity. “I know that, by joining our forces, in the spirit of our historic fraternity, Romania and France will contribute, as two anchors of stability at the two ends of the European Union, to the success of the relaunch of a stronger Union,” he said.
At some point, the head of the state mentioned the Romania-France Cultural Season, which is to start at the end of this year. “Without neglecting the past, the Season will be looking into the future, as it is intended to highlight a common destiny, in a Europe that we both, Romania and France, wish to be stronger,” said the President.
He underscored that, beyond the historical significations for France, July 14 “became a celebration of the democratic values that unite us: devotion towards the ideal of liberty, determination to fight for each citizens to be able to succeed in life and society – what we call equality of chances – and the belief that no one should be left abandoned, which is fraternity.”
Ambassador Michele Ramis: We encourage all efforts that aim to maintain and defend the values, among which the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary occupy a central place
On Saturday, Bastille Day, French Ambassador to Romania Michele Ramis gave a speech in which she talked about the friendship that connects her country and Romania, about the cultural season that will start this autumn and about the economic and industrial partnership.
The French ambassador recounted that during her first year in office she travelled the country and was able to notice “the Romanians’ affection for France and the friendship that connects our nations.”
“This friendship is, first of all, the fruit of history,” she pointed out. “The events celebrating the Centennial will represent the occasion to forcefully remind this, and that is why I wanted to inscribe the Bastille Day this year under the sign of this commemoration.”
The embassy’s garden hosted an exhibition titled “Frenchmen and Romanians in the First World War,” consecrated to the main actors and the great moments of those times.
On the centennial of the Armistice reached at the end of the First World War, the President of the French Republic has invited in Paris, on 11 November 2018, more than one hundred Heads of State and Government, to “jointly recall and build a future that would not look like that interwar period when states allowed global governance to weaken, borders to close, selfishness to prevail, to the benefit of warlike regimes.”
“In response to the growth of tensions in the contemporary world, President Macron will launch the Paris Peace Forum, an annual summit dedicated to the projects, ideas and initiatives able to effectively contribute to better international cooperation regarding the great global challenges, to a more just and equitable globalisation, and to a more efficient multilateral system. States, international organisations, local communities, representatives, NGOs, foundations, enterprises, religious groups, experts, will come to debate and to promote their projects.”
Ramis mentioned the personalities that brought their contribution to the relationship between Romania and France: George Enescu, Emil Cioran, Mircea Eliade, Constantin Brancusi, Eugene Ionesco and Anna de Noailles, whose name is borne by the French High School of Bucharest.
“During the term entrusted to me by the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, I am trying, with energy and conviction, to carry forward this French-Romanian relationship,” Ramis added.
She went on to say: “The strategic partnership of 2008 represents the political framework of our relationship. This year we celebrate the tenth anniversary and we will establish its concrete and ambitious objectives in a wide range of domains.”
The France-Romania Season will be opened by President Iohannis’s visit to Paris at the end of November and will end at the French embassy in Bucharest on the National Day of Romania.
“This Season will allow us to make known our artists and their creation, each country in the other, but also to intensify political dialogue and to consolidate economic opportunities. It will allow us to contribute to the building of a Europe of culture, a cause that is dear to President Emmanuel Macron, and also to emphasise our attachment to a strong, democratic Europe involved for peace.”
The ambassador added: “President Macron is the promoter of an ambitious project that seeks to make our citizens become once more “mesmerised” by the European idea, during these confusing times in which the European Union is subjected to internal and external factors of crisis. We need a Europe that protects the citizens and is capable of answering these challenges.”
“We see Romania as a top partner in carrying this project forward. I salute the European spirit of the Romanian people, because it knew to resist nationalism and Euroscepticism which, unfortunately, are growing on the continent.”
The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in the first half of 2019, will have to chair important debates – the negotiation of the multiannual financial framework, the finalisation of Brexit negotiations – right before the European Parliament elections, she reminded.
“We are and we stay alongside Romania, to help the success of this presidency, in the direction of a Europe of convergence, protective, stronger in the world and based on common values, as shown by the four priorities of the Romanian Presidency,” the ambassador told President Iohannis.
Moreover, Michele Ramis said, “we need a Europe that efficiently protects its citizens, and which is strong in the world, and in this sense the consolidation of European defence is a necessity. In a world of uncertain development, we must take our security in our own hands. I am happy that Romania too is convinced of the need to develop European cooperation in the field of defence, complementary with NATO.”
She pointed out that France encourages all efforts that seek to maintain and defend these values, “among which the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary hold a central place.”
The last essential pillar of the French-Romanian relationship that Michele Ramis emphasised was the economic and industrial partnership, which she called solid.
“Our trade has doubled in 10 years. France is Romania’s third-largest client, and its fourth supplier. In Romania there are almost 2,400 French companies, thus making France the fifth-largest foreign investor in Romania. (…) Our companies believe in the potential of Romanian economy. Naturally, they need a stable and predictable environment to keep investing and creating jobs.”
In closing, she expressed her wish that “the following period will allow our countries to cooperate ever closer, in the spirit of the friendship that always animated them, in the service of the joint ideal of a Europe of peace, democracy, values and prosperity.”
Ramis quoted Macron who, on 17 September 2017, in his speech on Europe given at the Sorbonne University, said: “It is our duty and your duty to draw the only way that ensures our future: that of re-founding a sovereign, united and democratic Europe. Together, let us have the courage to open this road.”