It is my great honor and pleasure to extend to all US citizens my congratulations and well-wishes on the occasion of the 243rd anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America.
Romania and the United States share a deep bond built on common values and interests. Since Romania shed the shackles of Communism thirty years ago, the United States has been a steadfast friend and partner in our journey to rebuild a resilient democracy and market economy. Underpinned by a robust Strategic Partnership, concluded 22 years ago, our bilateral relation has played a key role in preparing Romania’s accession to NATO and the European Union.
Today, Romania’s Strategic Partnership with the United States continues to form, together with our membership in the North Atlantic Alliance and the EU, one of the three core pillars of our foreign and security policy.
Underpinned by this solid foundation, Romania’s Partnership with the United States has continued to develop at a steady pace, as the dynamic agenda of the political dialogue bears witness. This year, Romania’s President, Prime Minister and President of the Senate have met with Vice President Pence. On my part, I have had the pleasure to hold consultations with Secretary of State Pompeo (photo), this April, in Washington DC. These meetings have consolidated our essential agreement on many of the recent challenges, as well as on the important role that the Romania-US Strategic partnership can play, as part of the overall Transatlantic relationship, in overcoming these challenges.
An extremely important topic on the Romanian-US strategic partnership agenda is our cooperation to increase security and stability in the Black Sea region, a priority of Romania’s foreign policy. Enhancing our cooperation, in bilateral and multilateral formats, remains a key goal, together with concrete measures taken by the allied partners to counteract the negative influences and encourage the positive-impact evolutions in the Black Sea region.
In pursuit of this goal, Romania remains a steadfast contributor to the burden-sharing commitments undertaken at NATO level and to the overall security of the Alliance. National security starts at home, with national commitments. Romania has consistently allocated over the past years 2% of GDP for defense expenditure and has undertaken an ambitious programme to modernize and upgrade its armed forces. Our strong partnership with the United States has allowed Romania to access a competitive market for high-grade, battle-tested systems, increasing Romania’s interoperability with the armed forces of the US and other NATO allies.
Security in the Transatlantic area, be it military, energy or economic, rests upon a strong and robust Transatlantic Partnership. It is a point of pride for me and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Romania’s Presidency of the EU Council has brought a consistent contribution to a strengthened and constructive Transatlantic relationship. I am confident that Romania’s status as a persistent and active contributor to Transatlantic security and solidarity will continue to play a key role in the Strategic Partnership that we share with our US partners and friends.
With this conviction, let me once again wish, to all our US friends and allies. Happy Independence Day!