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Wednesday, 23 Nov 2022

Joint press conference by Prime Minister Nicolae- Ionel Ciucă and the President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón

 

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Nicolae- Ionel Ciucă: President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, dear Pedro, Ministers, dear representatives of the local authorities in Castellon, dear citizens of Castellon de la Plana, thank you for the warm welcome, and the fact that you hosted this particularly important event for our countries. The fact that we managed to organize this summit between the Romanian Government and the Government of the Kingdom of Spain is proof of the bilateral relations, we call them historical, not only of diplomatic, and political nature but also of cultural nature. President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain mentioned the large number of Romanians who are already living, studying, and working and making their contribution to the Spanish economy, I thank you for how you succeeded in integrating into Spanish society. I also want to thank you for the fact that this summit is not only a formal activity, we have just presented some practical achievements. We adopted this joint declaration, and seven memoranda have been signed. It is clear proof that we have an understanding of what we need to do together to develop bilateral relations. As we discussed, today’s activity prefigures the celebration of 10 years of strategic partnership we will celebrate next year, in 2023. I want to underline from the very beginning the fact that as the President of the Spanish Government presented, we reached an understanding today on setting up a working group that will enter into the negotiations regarding the provision of the legal framework of dual citizenship for Romanian citizens who wish to obtain Spanish citizenship as well. As I pointed out, Mr. President, it is clear proof of the way in which you personally, the Spanish government and the Spanish citizens appreciate the relationship with the Romanian state and the Romanian citizens who are present in Spain today. Thank you very much!

I also want to thank you for the decision you have taken to strengthen the presence of the Spanish armed forces on the eastern flank. It is a decision that is the result of the NATO summit hosted in Madrid. It is the result of the implementation of NATO's new strategic concept. Here, we are already discussing the presence of radar on the eastern flank and the presence of personnel who ensure the operation of this equipment. It is very important to emphasize that not long from now, eight fighter jets will be present in Romania, also with related personnel, a consistent presence, and a solid contribution to what it means to ensure security measures to strengthen the defense on the eastern flank. I emphasized and I want to emphasize in this context as well that Romania supports the approach by which NATO must concern itself with everything that means ensuring defense and deterrence measures, including on the southern flank, and the 360-degree approach in what it means to defend the territory of all allied countries. I also underline our approach and support for your presidency of the European Union, to ensure everything necessary to develop the complementarity between NATO's strategic concept and the Strategic Compass of the European Union and, of course, the other dossiers that Spain will assume when taking over the presidency, in the second half of next year.

It is also very important to emphasize that these memorandums were signed, we were able to have discussions in the plenary session, and each of the ministers underlined the lines of effort, the lines of action that they will continue to work on.

I also pointed out that follow-ups will take place in the immediate next period, as I invited to Bucharest Mrs. Defense Minister and Mr. Interior Minister; I also suggested that we should have a meeting in Madrid, with the Romanian Digital Transformation Minister attending, and of course, all these meetings should later materialize in practical activities, including at the level of the Labor Ministry and the Development Ministry. These are best practice aspects we have something to learn from and, as I said in the plenary sitting, I really want the Health Ministry to also have very good cooperation, taking into account Spain's medical insurance system which we have to learn from.

Of course, we discussed the security issues in the Black Sea region, and the effect of the illegal and unprovoked invasion of the Russian Federation in Ukraine. We discussed everything about the need for support, to continue supporting the Republic of Moldova, and I thank you very much for the way in which you and the government you are leading, got engaged, including the third platform organized a few days in Paris. It is a sign of solidarity and unity at the level of the European Union and a sign of readiness to continue supporting partner countries, to continue supporting Ukraine, the Ukrainian Government, the Ukrainian people, and also the Republic of Moldova. They need our support and they need to know that we stand with them for them to face the effects and the consequences of this illegal and unprovoked invasion.

We discussed the aspects of what the energy crisis means, this issue of electricity and natural gas prices; we agree that it is necessary to decouple the price of gas from the price of electricity, we must find solutions so that, at the level of the European Union, we ensure the balance of the energy market within the European Union. We have used and we will use, I say publicly, the Iberian model, which inspired us when we analyzed the way of making decisions regarding energy and gas prices. As such, we must find those solutions to protect our population and ensure the competitiveness of our economies. We need these decisions because, as the dynamics and evolution of the situation show, we have to adapt and come up with appropriate solutions. I am convinced that, together, through dialogue and transparency, we will find these solutions.

Considering all that was discussed and the commitments assumed, I reiterate, Mr. President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain, our invitation for the next summit to take place in Bucharest or anywhere in Romania. There are places in Romania where we can carry out such activities if you give us permission to use your model.

Hopefully, we can enjoy the same fruitful cooperation and carry out a similar activity in Romania. Thank you once again, we are looking forward to meeting each other as soon as possible. I want to underline the fact that the meeting of the NATO foreign ministers is taking place in Bucharest next week, an extremely important meeting. The two foreign ministers signed several memoranda, which prepared them for the activity due to take place in Bucharest, which comes, practically, at a very important moment when what was established in Madrid is to materialize in clear solutions at the level of Allied diplomacy. Thank you and I wish you success further on!

Reporter:  I would like to ask Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă if, in the context of the recent statements of the Austrian representatives, we should be worried, if there are reasons for concern. Thanks.

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: In my address, you probably noticed that I did not refer to the subject of Schengen accession, because I discussed it as clearly as possible, Mr. President mentioned it, there is very concrete support for our efforts to join the Schengen area. I reiterate that we have fulfilled and have been fulfilling for many years the technical conditions of the Schengen acquis. These aspects were reconfirmed by the technical commission during the voluntary fact-finding mission that ended last month in our country - and in this way, I want to answer your question directly.

There were several issues related to what it means to approve our country's accession to Schengen. From the very beginning, we showed openness to dialogue, and to all those who have certain doubts, are invited to come and check on the spot, can receive all the necessary clarifications, so that they can see for themselves that our request is based on technical grounds, we make this request considering accession on merit bases.

We must emphasize that Romania is the country with the second largest land border in the European Union, the largest land border with Ukraine, and from the beginning of the war until now, beyond all other measures and moments through which we demonstrated that we are able to manage the external border of the European Union, the more during this period we demonstrated that we were able to manage more than 2.8 million refugees from Ukraine, to ensure their transit, to coordinate with the other countries inside Schengen and also with all international organizations to provide the necessary support to Ukrainian citizens. Also, the institutions of the Romanian state in charge of protecting the Schengen border, carry out their activity both on national soil and as part of other specific FRONTEX missions, so that we have the amplest contribution to this protection process of the Schengen area.

Reporter: Mr. Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă: when could this issue related to dual citizenship materialize? Thank you!

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: I will use your question as an opportunity to thank once again the President of the Government of Spain and the entire Cabinet, the two Foreign Ministers who did their best for this agreement to be signed so that we can start technical negotiations to identify the next steps so that the Romanians living in Spain can benefit from dual citizenship.

I also take this opportunity to thank Romanians for how they integrated, and behaved, for how they understood to honor Romania, regardless of the place they are carrying out their activity. They are here, the second, or the third generation, this proves they did not lose their national identity and are entitled to double citizenship. The fact that this aspect has been discussed today, and it was publicly announced for the first time by Mr. President, represents once again the proof of the recognition of steady, historical, very close relations existing between our countries, and of the value brought by the Romanian community here, in Spain. As relevant ministries start working, I am sure that based on the already created models, they will find the procedure to reach an understanding as soon as possible. Thank you.

Reporter: From what I heard, Putin's expansionism and the war in Ukraine were addressed at the summit. I would like to talk about the expansionism of another neighbor of yours, Viktor Orbán, who wore this scarf with Great Hungary. I would like to know how you will handle the problem with this difficult neighbor, Viktor Orbán.

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: Romania, as long as it existed and since we managed to have an image of how it behaves internationally, has always shown good intentions and has always wanted to have good neighborly relations, and also strengthen its partnership and collaboration relations with all countries, both in Europe and on other continents. Here we are, at this moment, Romania has been making special efforts for several years to join the Schengen area. Romania took the path toward accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. How we look at relations with our neighbors and how we approach international relations are based precisely on the observance of the rule of law, of international laws, and this is how we understand to do politics, and this is how we behave with neighbors. And, of course, regarding the way Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán appeared in public, it is not the first time he behaved so. And I think at this point, we don't need to enter into his game. Instead, we need to keep on observing the rules, the rule of law, and the rules of good collaboration and to permanently keep open the option of dialogue and relations based on everything that has been agreed upon and signed at the European level and internationally.

 

 



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