On 1st of December 2018 we celebrate the Centennial of our Great Union. A century ago, through the strong ambitions and exceptional efforts of the political and cultural elites, of the diplomats, as well as of the entire society, the ideal of national unity has been achieved, building the foundation of the Romanian modern state. In such special moments of history, the greatness of the past confers more hopes and substance to the possibilities of the future.
Nowadays, as members of the great community of shared values within the European Union, we fully enjoy European Union’s greatest achievements and benefits – peace, freedom and prosperity – in a space founded on democratic values, the rule of law and respect for human dignity. At a crucial moment for the future of the European project, Romania is preparing to hold for the first time the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Therefore, in the context of the Centennial of the Great Union, our country’s future is strongly connected with the future of the European Union itself.
The key word of the Romanian Centennial is union and with this call to unity we will very soon take over our first ever mandate at the Presidency of the EU Council. The vision of a strong and united Romania is now reflected through our will to act towards a more united and cohesive Europe. The Extraordinary Summit in Sibiu, on 9th of May 2019, will mark a key moment in the ongoing reflection process on the future of Europe. On Europe’s Day next year, through strategic thinking, consensual action and political will, the European leaders and institutions will set the guidelines for a stronger Europe in the years to come. That will be a new opportunity for us to show that our profound European vocation is bringing a tangible contribution to a powerful, credible and inclusive Europe.
We are also getting closer to a historic landmark when a Member State will leave the European Union for the first time since its foundation. In such a context, it is essential to focus on projects that bring us together and to move beyond the traditional clashing visions, which have built much more walls in Europe over time.
There is more than ever a strong need of unity and cohesion within our Union. It is time for us to direct our efforts towards ensuring an appropriate level of convergence among Member States and improving cohesion at political, social and economic levels, which are essential in strengthening and further enhancing the efficiency of the European Union.
The motto of our upcoming Presidency is “Cohesion, a common European value”. It reflects at the same time the imperious need for unity and cooperation among the EU Member States, as well as the need for more economic, social and territorial cohesion as enshrined in the EU Treaties.
In the same vein, the current debates within the European Union reflect undoubtedly an increased need of bringing the European citizens closer to the European project. Therefore, we will strive during our upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union to imprint a pragmatic, approach to the European Union’s actions, setting clear and realistic ambitions in order to build a lasting future for Europe as a whole, from North to South and from East to West.
Strongly attached to the European values and guided by the lessons drawn from the past hundred years, we are ready to play our part in the promotion of the common values, as well as in the countering of nationalist, racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic tendencies, in particular in the context of the upcoming European Parliamentary elections next year.
For Romania, the anniversary of the Centennial is a good reminder and an incentive towards pleading for more unity at European level. I am confident that, as an incoming Presidency at the helm of the European Union, we will prove our capacity to build consensus and find efficient and viable solutions for our common European future.
Animated by the historic moment we celebrate today and optimistically looking towards the future, I wish all Romanians a happy Romanian National Day!