October 12th, the National Day of Spain is back again to mark the date when a handful of Spaniards reached American soil in 1492, opening a new page in Mankind History. This year, because of public health restrictions, our celebration will not include the traditional reception for the Spanish community and for Romanian authorities and friends. The huge challenge posed by COVID – 19 is reshaping our ways to celebrate and bringing about a “new normality” to which we will have to adapt.
Today my thoughts are with all those who are suffering and fighting the COVID – 19 in my country, in Romania and elsewhere. More particularly, I wish to express my condolences to those who have lost a relative or a friend to COVID – 19; we are together in this struggle against the disease, and we will prevail. Spain and Romania are fighting this pandemic with determination thanks to the courage of our people who are showing resilience and solidarity.
I would also like to commend the efforts of the Spanish community in Romania. Many of its members are far away from their families but on a daily basis they do their best to further develop bilateral relations. Some others are bringing added value to our cultural and human relations as teachers of Spanish in Romanian schools and academic institutions. Moreover, some Spanish military officers are working closely within NATO military structures in Romania. I wish to express my gratitude to all of them.
As far as the economy is concern, Spanish companies keep investing and creating jobs in Romania, showing faith in a future of shared prosperity. Let me mention, as an example, the Metro line 5 in Bucharest which was recently opened. It is a landmark in the transport infrastructure of the capital, and it has been built by a consortium with leading participation of a major Spanish company. Line 5 has the highest international standards and it will make life easier for thousands of citizens in Bucharest.
Commercial exchanges are strong in spite of the restrictions related to the pandemic and we are determined to further expand them in the future.
As far education is concerned, I would like to underline the excellent job being done by the ten Spanish Bilingual Sections functioning in as many Romanian public schools across the country. Thanks to this program, thousands of Romanian children have the opportunity to learn Spanish and to get their Spanish Baccalaureate, which will open additional education and job opportunities for them, not only in Spain but also across America where Spanish is the official language in 20 countries and is also spoken by more than 50 million US citizens.
The Instituto Cervantes ¡n Bucharest is successfully coping with the pandemic by introducing new online tuition and teaching technologies, and also reopening its classrooms in the safest possible way. As the flagship of Spanish culture in Romania, its activities dovetail with the culture program of the Embassy which, in the face of the pandemic, has adapted to offer online Spanish cinema, streaming concerts, open air movies and street exhibitions in an effort to keep reaching out to Romanian people.
On October 12th I also want to mention the Romanian community settled in Spain. They are one of the pillars of the excellent bilateral relations between Spain and Romania. They have never been regarded in Spain as foreigners, but rather as European citizens who have chosen Spain as their second home and share with Spanish people a common destiny in the European Union. Romanians in Spain are well integrated, they contribute to cultural diversity, and they have become part of the Spanish economy.
On this important date, October 12th, my final words and my thoughts go to the Spanish citizens in Romania. I send my very best regards to all of them.
¡¡ Happy National Day !! ¡¡ feliz 12 de octubre !!