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Tuesday, 15 December

Interim Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă was awarded the Legion of Merit (degree of officer) in acknowledgement of the merits during his activity as Chief of the Defence Staff, from January 2015 to December 2019

Speech by Interim Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă at the awarding of Legion of Merit (degree of officer) in acknowledgement of the merits during his activity as Chief of the Defence Staff, from January 2015 to December 2019


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Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: Your Excellency, Mr President of Romania, Mr Chairman of PNL, distinguished members of the Cabinet, Lieutenant General, Chief of the Defence Staff, distinguished representatives of the Ministry of National Defence, dear guests, it is an honour for me to receive this high distinction.

Each of us, military or civilian, in the institutions where we carry out our activity, we are in the service of the citizen, of the country and the decoration awarded today represents a recognition of the merits of the entire personnel of Romanian Army, a recognition of everyone’s sustained work. Today, I am here, only as representative of those who offered their most precious gifts: their time, health and even their life to fulfil the missions entrusted by the country.

No commander, no matter how good, can win a battle without a strong army by his side. For those who wear the military uniform, teamwork is very important and I want, on this occasion too, to thank my comrades- in -arms, some of them are present here today, the others are on duty, home and in the theatres of operations, and to assure them of respect and consideration.

In my work, I have always put first the well-being of the structure and institution I was part of. I have constantly acted to promote and support them and I am sure that this is the only way to meet the own and institutional goals, at the same time being the guarantee of real perception, including in the multinational environment.

As I mentioned the multinational environment, I must emphasize that it had a very big impact on the process of transformation and modernization of the Romanian Army.

To me, the missions in the theatres of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq together with the U.S. military were moments when I understood we have to be proud of us because we are professionals and dedicated to fulfilling missions, that we have potential and that we must capitalise on it through efforts of will and ambition, elements that need to be passed on from generation to generation.

I didn't think back then that I would be chief of Defence or that, one day, after years, I will be honoured with the highest US distinction that a foreign military can receive. Nevertheless, my entire career has definitely been influenced by the experience I lived there, in the first line, with the Romanian military and our allies in the U.S., whom I am grateful to because together we accumulated great part of the experience needed for the transformation and modernisation of Romanian Army.

The United States has consistently supported Romania and its Armed Forces on the difficult path of meeting NATO-specific standards. The strategic partnership between our countries is one of the pillars on which the defence of our country is based, it has significantly contributed to the development of the Armed Forces. I know what the Legion of Merit stands for, but I reckon once again that this award represents a recognition of the teamwork, of all those with whom I have worked along time and they deserve, equally, the merit of this decoration.

Thank you for the permanent and robust support you show to our country, Mr Ambassador Adrian Zuckerman, and for the honour of receiving this medal, thank you on behalf of the entire staff of the Romanian Army! Thank you, Mr President, for attending this event and thank you all for having taken your time to attend this event, alongside the Romanian Army!  Thank you. I have the honour to salute you!

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