President Klaus Iohannis concluded on Tuesday evening his three-day state visit to Italy with a meeting with representatives of the Romanian community living and working in the Peninsula.
Attending the event were also the president’s wife, Carmen Iohannis and the Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi.
The head of state used the opportunity to convey in Rome a message of solidarity to the 1.2 million Romanians in Italy, urging them to stay united and contribute to a better understanding between the two peoples.
“I wish to convey a message of solidarity to the more than 1.2 million Romanians in Italy. (…) Dear Romanians in Italy, you are a force not only through sheer numbers but also because you have a word to say in your communities! That is why I urge you: ‘Show solidarity, stay united!’ Every Romanian in Italy is a representative, an ambassador of his country, Romania and all together you honour both Romania and Italy. At the same time you have a very, very important role to play. You can significantly contribute to a better understanding between our peoples,” Klaus Iohannis stated at the seat of Rome City Hall, at a meeting with the representatives of the Romanian community.
Romanian Presidency: Italy’s Conte thanks Iohannis for his and Romania’s friendship with Italy and the Italian people
On a state visit to Italy, Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis on Monday met chairman of Italy’s Council of Ministers Giuseppe Conte to discuss the bilateral relationship between the two countries and European and international security co-operation.
According to the Presidential Administration, Conte thanked Iohannis for his and Romania’s friendship with Italy and the Italian people.
At the same time, Iohannis and Conte “welcomed the excellent level of bilateral trade, with Italy being Romania’s second trading partner with a balanced trade balance.” Iohannis also pointed out that Romania continues to be a very attractive market for Italian companies, as Italy ranks first among foreign investors in Romania in terms of the number of operating companies.
Iohannis also thanked the Italian authorities for having acted in the relationship with the sizeable Romanian community, which he said is “very well integrated with the Italian society and making a substantial contribution to the economy of this state,” according to the Presidential Administration.
Iohannis presented Romania’s priorities for the time it will be holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2019, and one of the main topics during Romania’s tenure will be a reflection on the future of Europe. Conte expressed Italy’s full support for the Romanian presidency of the EU Council.
He also underlined that the external dimension of migration remains an essential component of the union’s action to manage illegal migration, which requires closer co-operation. He emphasised the need to strike the right balance between short-term measures aimed at saving lives at sea and improving border protection and long-term care aimed at addressing the root causes of migration. In this context, the two senior officials exchanged views on the situation in Libya.
During the meeting with the Chairman of the Italian Senate, Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, aspects of bilateral co-operation were discussed, with emphasis on European, economic and cultural co-operation, including on the role and contribution of parliamentary diplomacy, as well as on co-operation issues in the international and security plan.
The second day of Iohannis’ visit to Italy also included official talks with Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella. Iohannis stressed that the visit takes place in a year of great significance both to Romania and to the bilateral relationship amidst celebrating the Centennial of Romania’s Greater Union, a landmark in Romania’s modern history, and the 10th anniversary of the consolidated strategic partnership between Romania and Italy.
The two presidents pointed out that both communities – the approximately 1.2 million Romanians in Italy, the largest foreign community there and the largest community of Romanians living abroad, and the Italian community in Romania – represent a powerful binder that strengthens the special link between the two countries.
In the conversation with his Italian counterpart, the economic dimension of the consolidated strategic partnership was also approached, with Iohannis advocated further development, both in terms of Italian investment in Romania and in terms of increasing trade.
Iohannis also reiterated the objective of strengthening the European project building on the fundamental values and principles. He pointed out that Romania will further support a stronger union able to provide European citizens with security and prosperity, with the informal European summit that Romania will host in Sibiu in May 2019 expected to be a moment defining this point of view.
As regards the enlargement of the EU, the two presidents agreed that Romania and Italy share a common vision, with Iohannis stressing that Romania is interested in a stable, democratic and prosperous eastern neighborhood.
The discussions on security highlighted the attention of both countries to a solid transatlantic relationship, based on unity, solidarity and a fair sharing of the NATO burden. Iohannis also emphasised the importance of the EU becoming a true global actor that promotes the values of multilateralism.
The two heads of state also welcomed the excellent co-operation between the two countries in the field of defence, including within NATO. At the same time, Iohannis and Mattarella opened an exhibition dedicated of the 2,000th death anniversary of Latin poet Ovid in 2017, a symbolic event capable of highlighting the durability of bilateral cultural relations, according to the Presidential Administration.