President Klaus Iohannis was welcomed on Monday at the Quirinale Palace of Rome by his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella, within the state visit that Romania’s President is paying to the Italian Republic in the context of celebrating the Greater Union Centennial and the 10th anniversary since upgrading the bilateral relationship between Romania and Italy at the level of Enhanced Strategic Partnership.
Presidents Iohannis and Mattarella carried out head-to-head talks, as well as official discussions that were followed by joint press statements.
According to the Presidential Administration, the two presidents’ agenda of talks included the Enhanced Strategic Partnership between the two countries, as well as European, international and security co-operation.
“Within the dialogue, a special attention will be granted to reconfirming the special character of the bilateral relation, deepening the Enhanced Strategic Partnership, strengthening the economic cooperation and the role of the Romanian community residing in Italy. An exchange of views regarding the topical themes of the EU agenda will also be carried out, including in the context of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, as well as on international topics,” the Presidential Administration mentions.
Moreover, Iohannis and Mattarella toured the Scuderie del Quirinale Museum, where they inaugurated an exhibition dedicated to the commemoration in 2017 of 2000 years since the death of poet Ovid. Romania is participating with two heritage art works, one from Constanta and one from the Brukenthal Museum, with the exhibition unfolding under the High Patronage of Italy’s and Romania’s Presidents.
According to the Presidential Administration, this is the first state visit of a head of state in the last 45 years to Italy.
The agenda of Romania’s President’s visit to Rome also includes official meetings with head of Italy’s Council of Ministers Giuseppe Conte, Senate Chair Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, and Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Roberto Fico.
President Sergio Mattarella: The meetings scheduled with the most important representatives of Italian institutions, demonstrate the level of the friendship between the two countries
Italian President Sergio Mattarella stated on Monday that relations between Romania and Italy are “at an excellent level,” being based on very old historical and cultural ties, while Klaus Iohannis characterised the relationship as “a relationship that works extraordinarily well.”
“It is a visit that, for us, is very important in what concerns the relations between Romania and Italy, which are at an excellent level, relations based on very old historical and cultural ties and on current social, human, economic ties. The historical ties have allowed us to develop a series of collaborations, political, economic and social collaborations at very high level, collaborations that are intensifying and that are growing in size and number. There are very deep social ties. An important Romanian community is present in Italy, it is the most important community in Italy, the largest. We are talking about approximately 1.2 million Romanians,” Italian President Sergio Mattarella stated during the joint press opportunity in which he took part alongside Klaus Iohannis.
He added that thousands of Italians are also living in Romania, many Italian companies are active in Romania – more than 19,000 companies.
“This economic collaboration is facilitated by these human connections that are developing between the Romanian people and the Italian people. We are talking about collaboration and closeness that is reflected at cultural level too. There are very many collaborations between Romanian and Italian universities, and the exchange of students between our countries is very important. This is an element which, in its turn, strengthens friendship between Romania and Italy and of course both countries are part of the European Union and in harmony in what regards the European Union’s development outlook,” the Italian Head of State added.
He labelled his dialogue with Klaus Iohannis as being “very useful, very friendly.”
“The dialogue I had with President Klaus Iohannis was very useful, very friendly, and I noted the great friendship between our countries, and this visit to Italy, and the stages of this visit, as well as all the meetings scheduled, I’m talking about the meetings scheduled with the most important representatives of Italian institutions, demonstrate the level of the friendship between the two countries,” the Italian Head of State emphasised.
President Iohannis, after meeting Italian counterpart: I thanked President Mattarella for how Romanians are treated
President Klaus Iohannis on Monday stated, after his meeting with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella, that he thanked him for the manner in which Romanians are treated and integrated in the Peninsula.
“I underscored the community of values, the common history, the common rich culture and we have come very fast and with very positive feelings to discus about the two communities, the Italian community, already very numerous in Romania, and the Romanian community in Italy,” specified Iohannis, during his joint press conference with Sergio Mattarella, at the Quirinale Palace.
According to the head of the state, there are approximately 1.2 million Romanians living in Italy, with this being the largest Romanian community abroad.
“This community of Romanian is very integrated in Italy, very appreciated. I thanked for the way in which Romanians are treated and integrated in Italy,” said Klaus Iohannis.
Presidents Iohannis, Mattarella discuss speeding up economic relationship
He underlined that he talked to his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella about the economic relationship between Romania and Italy, mentioning that our country is an extremely attractive market, with an important potential.
“We discussed some details regarding our economic relationship that is steadily growing,” Klaus Iohannis told a joint statement with Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinale Palace in Rome.
According to the Romanian president, a record level of almost 15 billion euro in bilateral exchanges has been reached, and experts estimate that this upward trend will maintain in the coming period.
“I underscored that Romania is and will be a very attractive market, it is a country with an important potential and even if we have a very numerous business community in Romania, we are looking forward to new and new investments and business persons coming and enriching our bilateral economic relationship,” Iohannis stated.
Moreover, president Iohannis specified that his visit to Italy takes place in a year with a particular significance for both Romania and the bilateral relationship.
“The Romanians this year celebrate the Greater Union’s Centennial, an anniversary that I believe can be called a benchmark anniversary to our history. And together with Italy we celebrate 10 years of consolidated strategic partnership, a very well functioning relationship. We have this very close relation, a relation cultivated through the highest level dialogue included and within this framework, I have analysed together with Mr President Mattarella the relationship’s stage, have approached extremely current topics in connection, obviously, with the European agenda, with the region and the international security matters,” Iohannis added.
“A very important topic for us, which I have discussed with President Mattarella, was the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which Romania will hold in the first half of 2019, and an essential part of this Presidency – aside from the multiple complicated dossiers such as Brexit and the Multiannual Financial Framework – will consist of a reflection on the future of the Union,” the Romanian Head of State added.
“The informal summit in Sibiu, which will take place on 9 May 2019, is dedicated exclusively to the future of the Union. Until then, we want to find, together, the 27 member states – because that’s how many there will be at the time of the Summit –, an approach that would not only outline a future strategy for the Union, but would also open a gate toward new optimism, because the summit will come right after Brexit, and I believe the Union needs not only technical solutions but also solutions that make the Europeans feel once again optimistic and confident in the European project,” Iohannis said.
“We have defined the key words for our Presidency as being unity and cohesion. These are the things we need to accomplish all the other projects we set for ourselves: European security, internal security, the security of external borders, solving the problems generated by the significant migratory flow, and in this case, it is known, Italy is a gateway country that faces an immense challenge. We, the President and I, managed to discuss all these issues during the relatively short time we had at our disposal, issues that affect us all,” the Romanian Head of State added at the same time.
He added that his discussion with his Italian counterpart also tackled the very good cooperation within NATO.
“We live in a globalised world. There is no room for local or isolationist approaches, there is no room for regress in the international community, and, in this sense, I emphasised that there is the need not only for unity and cohesion within the Union, there is also the need for the Union to play a more important role in international politics, in issues concerning the international community, and here I was very glad that President Mattarella had an approach of the exact same type. We mustn’t abandon in any way multilateralism in international relations, and here the Union must play a much, much more important role than it plays now,” Iohannis added.
“These special relations we have – Romania with Italy, the people of Romania with the people of Italy, the politicians in the two countries – can decisively contribute, both of us consider, to the improvement of the international political environment,” the Romanian Head of State added during the joint press conference in which he took part alongside his Italian counterpart.
Presidential Administration: The meeting with the representatives of the denominations, as a first moment of his official visit to Italy, represented a message of closeness that the President of Romania wanted to send to the Romanian community in Italy
President Klaus Iohannis on Sunday met in Rome with the representatives of the Orthodox, Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic religious cults, while he wanted to send a message of closeness to the Romanian community in Italy.
The first day in Rome included a visit to the headquarters of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese in Italy and a meeting with the representatives of the Orthodox, Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic religious denominations. On this occasion, the head of state congratulated His Grace Siluan of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese in Italy for his activity.
“The meeting between President Klaus Iohannis with the representatives of the denominations, as a first moment of his official visit to Italy, represented a message of closeness that the President of Romania wanted to send to the Romanian community in Italy, which is the most numerous Romanian community abroad and also a community close to the church and it representatives, and close to the country,” reads a press release of the Presidential Administration.
Moreover, Iohannis voiced his appreciation for the contribution of the religious denominations to the philanthropic activities and of social support of the religious associations and foundations carried out both in Romania and in Italy, supporting Romanians facing difficult situations there.
“President Klaus Iohannis encouraged the continuation of the inter-religious dialogue between all the Romanian religious communities in Italy, which represent a model of good practices including for the other communities of Romanians abroad, an important aspect in keeping the unity of the Romanian people, especially in the context of the celebration this year of the Modern Romania Centennial,” specifies the release.
Moreover, President Iohannis and his Holy Father Siluan from the Romanian Orthodox Diocese in Italy, together with the other hierarchs in attendance, had an exchange of view related to their current activities.
President offered the representative of the participating denominations three official flags of Romania, as a symbol of their attachment to the country.
On Sunday evening, President Iohannis participated in the lightning of Trajan’s Column in the Romanian flag’s colours, alongside hundreds of other Romanian citizens. On this occasion, the President highlighted that this was a symbolic moment and very special for the relation between the two states.
Iohannis, at the lighting ceremony of Trajan’s Column in the colors of the Romanian national flag: I find it both an emotional and full of significance moment
President Klaus Iohannis stated on Sunday evening in Rome that Romania’s social peace is being rebuilt.
“I believe that social peace in Romania is being rebuilt. And we need such symbols in order to rebuild social peace in Romania and we will,” Iohannis stated on Sunday evening in Rome, where he attended the lighting of Trajan’s Column in the colors of the Romanian national flag.
Furthermore, the head of state said that he finds this event very emotional and full of significance.
“I find it both an emotional and full of significance moment. Trajan’s Column (…) is believed to be the birth certificate of our people and lighted up in the tricolour colors, I think it’s also important for the relationship between our peoples, it gives it a special charm, but also shows us where our history is and I hope it will show us where our future is,” Iohannis mentioned.
Moreover, the President said he is very glad to be participating in this event.
“It is a very beautiful moment. I thank the organisers. (…) I am truly excited and very pleased that we can live this moment. It’s sensational – Trajan’s Column [lighted] in the tricolour. I believe that there isn’t a deeper, more beautiful symbol for the tie between our nations. (…) It’s excited that so many people came, very, very many Romanians,” Iohannis showed.
Upon arriving at Trajan’s Column, President Klaus Iohannis and his wife Carmen were expected by local authorities and several hundred people, including a group of children of the Romanian community in Italy. People applauded Iohannis, called out his name and chanted “United we save all Romania.”
Afterwards, Trajan’s Column was lighted up in the colors of the Romanian national flag, moment when the people attending the event started to sing Romania’s national anthem.
Furthermore, the President and his wife talked with the children, were taken photos with them and thanked those who attended the event.
The presidential couple also participated in a performance organised within the event.
Upon leaving, Iohannis and his wife continued to talk to the people and take photos with them.
Several people continued to call out Iohannis’s name, applauded and chanted “Long live Greater Romania!,” “Long live Sibiu!,” “United we save all Romania!,” “Romania wake up!,” “PSD (the Social Democratic Party), the Red Plague” and “We want home, the thieves do not let us!.”