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Thursday, 10 January

The official opening ceremony of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Speech of Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă at the official opening ceremony of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

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Mr. President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker,

Mr. President of the European Council, Donald Tusk,

Mr. President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani,

Mr. President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis,

Mr. President of the Senate, Călin Popescu-Tăriceanu,

Mr. Vice-President of the Chamber of Deputies, Florin Iordache,

Dear guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have the great honor and joy of welcoming our guests today to Bucharest! Thank you for your presence at this event where we are marking an important moment for Romania: the launch of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

For me, it is a moment of great emotion, because today, in this very special situation for my country, I have the honor of speaking on behalf of my fellow citizens. I have the honor of speaking on behalf of Romania, which for 6 months, starting today, will stand dignified at the table where important decisions of the European Union are taken.

Today, Romanians enjoy the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, occupy the deserved place in Europe, the place where they receive the same respect, the same rights and the same benefits that all other European citizens enjoy.

With this thought I will represent my country and my fellow citizens for the next 6 months. Romania will worthy lead the Council of the European Union.

I see here today some of the architects of our European integration, a part of those who contributed for Romania to join the values and the acquis communautaire. I sincerely and respectfully thank them for their contribution.

Looking back, I think the most important step of our integration was achieved when the Romanian people adopted, by referendum, the current Constitution of Romania. That is the starting line where our integration really began. It was the moment when the Romanian people wanted to align and to assimilate the values and principles of the European Union. The constitution adopted at that time and governing today the rule of law in Romania is the strongest guarantee that our country has embarked on the irreversible path of European integration.

The Constitution is our most important European benchmark because it has been drawn up in agreement with our European partners and has been the starting point for our Euro-Atlantic integration process.

Today we can state that what is European is also constitutional, and equally what is constitutional is in full agreement with the European values and principles.

This Constitution tells us today, when taking over the rotating presidency, that the Romanian Government has the duty to manage European files alongside the Council of the European Union.

As Prime Minister of Romania, I assume with great honor and dignity this high responsibility towards Europe and over 500 million European citizens.

We will demonstrate that Romania has fully won the role and position of a full right Member State of the European Union.

We will demonstrate that Romania deserves the respect of the European community and the status of an equal partner in the great European construction.

We will prove that Romania is fully prepared to stand up, among all the other Member States.

And we will show that Romania is well prepared to manage the important files on the European agenda and to be an impartial mediator who can generate consensus at European level.

So I send to all Romanians and our European partners the same message: “Dare to believe in Romania! Dare to believe in Romania’s ability to honorably lead the Council of the European Union.”

Today, more than ever, we can prove that the Romanian people is a truly European one, attached to the values and aspirations of the community space.

And I want to tell our European partners that the Romanians have been, are and will remain pro-European. We have not changed our pro-European option and I see no reason to change it in the future.

On the contrary, we want to actively participate in the major decisions of the Union, and here we are doing it today!

We want to be equal and respected partners in the European Union, and today Romania is sitting at the table where the future of the Union is being discussed and decided!

We want Romania, alongside all other European countries, to enjoy the same benefits that this great project of a strong and united Europe offers, and today, Romania's presidency of the Council of the Union begins by strengthening cohesion between Member States!

Cohesion and unity represent our vision of the Union's leadership!

I guarantee you that the ministers of the Government I lead will seriously manage the vital files for the present and the future of the Union.

We are also aware of the challenges ahead. We do not minimize them, nor we exaggerate them.

We will treat them with the same seriousness and respond with realism and determination.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am addressing you today as the Prime Minister of a state for which joining the European Union was the fulfillment of a national aspiration. The democratic system, the economic development and the security Romania enjoys today are the tangible results of this road. The European path has been and remains our choice, and at the same time we are fully aware of the irreversible nature of the road we took. Our future is always ahead, not behind! So, we go forward on the European path we started!

At the same time, however, we must never forget where we started. It is a valid imperative for all Member States of the Union. Let us all remember the ideals, principles and values on which the European project was built. We started from the belief that together we will be truly stronger in the world and that national interests will be better achieved inside the Union than outside it.

If we want the Union to go forward, then we must all go ahead! Nobody can be left behind!

If we want the Union to be stronger, then all Member States must be strong and the weaker must be helped to become stronger.

And if we want the Union to be respected internationally, then we must first and foremost respect each other and realize that each Member State has a definite contribution to the value of the whole Union.

And we are not few those wanting a more united Europe. Mr. Jean Claude Junker, the President of the European Commission, said in the White Paper on the future of the Union that “as we decide which way to go, we should remember that Europe has always been at its best when we are united, bold and confident that we can shape our future together.”

This is also our reason for proposing that in the mandate of our Presidency the Union should go in the same rhythm and with the same cadence! And we will primarily support those decisions that will lie above political differences, above the national variety, above the differences in development and which can thus contribute to strengthening cohesion between Member States.

We will promote what unites us and will restrain what divides us.

I sincerely wish a stronger and more united European Union at the end of our Presidency of the Council.

This is the spirit of the European Union! This is the vision that Romania will follow during the 6 months while holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union!

Finally, I once again thank the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the other rotating presidencies for the fruitful collaboration that has allowed us to properly prepare for this moment. I am convinced that the union generates power and I invite you to continue working together for a successful Presidency of Romania at the EU Council!

Thank you.



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