It is our great honour to extend our warmest congratulations and best wishes for continued development and well-being to the Republic of Austria, on the celebration of its National Day!
This moment of joyous reflection on important events from the history of Austria, such as its declarations of neutrality, independence and sovereignty, also offers the opportunity to contemplate the good cooperation between Romania and Austria. Our bilateral relation features a strong economic dimension, proven by the fact that Austria continues to be the second largest foreign investor in the Romanian market, with investments amounting to over 4.85 billion Euro. The Austrian contribution to our educational system, by providing expertise to the development of the dual education in Romania, is of great importance, as it represents a useful tool for the training and integration of youth into the labour market.
A success story of our collaboration is the European Union Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR), the major joint political initiative launched by our countries in 2008. It is a very useful framework within which countries in the region (EU member states and neighboring countries) can address common regional challenges by using European financial instruments to implement joint projects in various areas, such as transport, environment, culture, energy, tourism, communications, research and education. Throughout the years, as co-initiators of the Strategy, both Austria and Romania have remained strongly committed to the effective implementation of this particular EU macro-regional strategy, with the ultimate aim of facilitating activities that ensure the socio-economic cohesion and sustainable development of the participating countries and enhance regional connectivity, mobility and competitiveness.
Furthermore, Romania and Austria agreed in 2018 to collaborate and jointly host the newly set up EUSDR Secretariat for a three-year period, in order to better coordinate the Strategy’s implementation and promote cooperation under its umbrella. As Presidency-in-office of this EU Strategy, Romania has played an important part in its renewal, being an effective facilitator of this process. The revision of the EUSDR was the main objective of our Presidency and thanks to the increased political engagement of both our countries, as well as the very good mechanisms of bilateral cooperation, we managed to closely coordinate with our Austrian partners throughout this process.
Beyond these dimensions, the last months were defined by a significant responsibility assumed by our countries, namely the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. We appreciated the efficient coordination between our mandates and the smooth transition from the Austrian to the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The two consecutive presidencies contributed not only to strengthening the Romanian-Austrian relations, but also to advancing the European project, in times of both internal and external challenges for the Union.
All this stands proof of what our countries can achieve by working together.
To conclude, we wish “Einen schönen Nationalfeiertag!” to our Austrian friends!