This year Argentina celebrates the 209 Anniversary of the May Revolution, that fundamental day since our country began -in 1810- to tell the whole world its willingness to take the road of sovereignty, development and international commitment as a new Nation.
Regarding the bilateral relationship between Argentina and Romania, I’m very proud to say that it can be described as excellent, with a constant increasing trend over the recent years, where the commercial ties represent an important factor for making the bilateral cooperation more dynamic and fruitful. Turning back in the time, I must remember the fact that the first official contact between Argentina and Romania took place 139 years ago and the relations between the two countries were raised to the level of an Embassy in 1964.
Talking about the commercial relations, we should mention that a large volume of the Argentine exports to Romania are represented by processed foodstuffs and prepared foods for animals, especially soybean meal (soybean pellets). Citrus and others occupy second place in Argentine exports, followed by oil steel pipes. Regarding imports, the main Romanian products imported by Argentina were: vehicles components, electric boilers and equipment, electrical lighting, signaling equipment and nitrogen fertilizers. Argentina ranks third among the trading partners of South America and the second country of origin for the merchandise imported into Romania from this geographical area.
It´s also important to highlight that in the last years agriculture has been identified as a high potential area for bilateral cooperation projects and, in this sense, meetings and visits have been carried out both with high official institutions in Romania and with the local private sector.
We can also be very satisfied of the fruitful achievements in many levels, with a significant number of bilateral agreements in several areas. At the moment, we are very close to sign other five very important bilateral agreements in different fields like: Culture, Social Security, Agricultural Technology, Security and Environment. The excellent Political cooperation between our two countries, was strengthen once again this year on April 5th, when senators of the Argentine National Congress, members of the Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development, representative of Chubut and former provincial governor of Chubut -Mr. Alfredo Héctor González Luenzo, and Ex senator of Romanian origin, Mr. Néstor Perl- have received a parliamentary delegation from Romania composed by the Vice President of the Environment Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, Mr. Lucian Eduard Simion, and the Secretary of the Senate Environment Committee, Mr. Cornel Cristian Resmeriţa. The objective of this meeting was both the identification of joint projects for the purpose of improving political dialogue, as well as economic cooperation as well as cooperation between the Parliamentary Friendship Groups of both countries.
Here it is also very important to mention the bilateral meeting between the Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Faurie and the Deputy Prime Minister for the Implementation of the Strategic Partnerships of Romania Ana Birchall held on March 21, 2019, during the Second United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (PABA +40) held this year in Buenos Aires, where the two high officials discussed about possible ways of increasing links between both countries.
It is also worth mentioning the constant and growing presence of Argentina culture in Romania through culture. Last week, on the 16th of May, the Argentine Embassy in Romania participated -together with guests from Argentina- in the Sephardic Cultural Days with the screening of the Argentine documentary “En busca de Sefard” (“Looking for Sefarad”, 2017), directed by Carina Gurovitz and Paula Castiglioni. The event had been organized together with the Cervantes Institute of Bucharest and was a great success for the public. The Argentine tango music and dance are enjoying an increasing success in Romania. There are real tango communities expressing themselves through these elements so representative of our culture. This community, formed by Romanian tango dance schools and tango lovers, gathers frequently and communicates through tango, organizing periodically events – called “milongas”- exactly like those held in Buenos Aires.
For example, our Embassy participated jointly with Romanian professors of Argentine Tango School “Urquiza” in Bucharest and the Argentine singer Marthin Marcos in the event “Hablando de Tango“, which was held at “Green Hours” pub this year, on 29th of March. On that occasion, diplomats of our Embassy had a dynamic presentation centered on the culture of tango and its history, as well as on the origin of lunfardo (Argentine slang) in tango music. The event was attended by people fond of tango culture and members of the Foreign Diplomatic Corps accredited in Romania.
Regarding the cultural cooperation, it is also worth mentioning the launching ceremony of the book: “Dear Cioran: History of a friendship” and other literary works authored by the Argentinian writer of Romanian origin, Alina Diaconu, together with personalities of the Romanian culture and artists, such as: the President of the National Foundation for Science and Art, Eugen Simion and Secretary of State, Victor Alexeev, that took place on 6th of May in the Literature Museum in Bucharest. The event not only focused on the work of Mrs. Diaconu, but also highlighted the cultural ties between Argentina and Romania. On this occasion Ms. Diaconu was decorated by the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania, who highlighted the cultural links Romania and Argentina share, along with the role of the Romanian intellectuals who were part of the local diaspora.
In terms of the presence of the Argentine literature in Romania, it is fundamental to stress the potential of the “Programa Sur” translation project for Argentine authors -promoted by the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Relations. Thus, works of great Argentine writers have managed to come closer to the Romanian readers, being very much appreciated. Speaking of literature, I also have to mention the event held this year on April 5th in the School of Foreign Languages and Literature in Bucharest, where the Argentine poet Ignacio Perini made a modern poetry exhibition about the book that he published entitled “Lover Loser” that had been highly appreciated by the students.
Also, as a sign of the importance of the culture exchange, this Embassy delivered on March this year many outstanding Argentine literary works translated in Romanian to the University of Foreign Languages in Bucharest, for the students use.
Being also Ambassador both in Romania and the Republic of Moldova, I think it is worth also to mention the very important working meeting held in Davos on January 2019 between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova Tudor Ulianovschi and the Secretary of International Economic Relations of Argentina, Horacio Reyser Travers. There were discussed several topics of the bilateral economic agenda and steps to follow to deepen the relationship between both countries and Moldova also announced the upcoming opening of its Embassy in Buenos Aires (first and only one in Latin America).
To conclude, I would like to stress that Independence means also togetherness, joining up efforts for the common good and cooperation. That is why, I think that the mutual commitment to further strengthening and enhancing the excellent relations that Argentina and Romania are enjoying nowadays is a duty that both honors and brings me a lot of joy.