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Monday, 29 August 2016

Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos has attended the Annual Meeting of the Romanian Diplomacy

Address by Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos at the Annual Meeting of the Romanian Diplomacy


Dacian Ciolos: President Ion Iliescu, President Emil Constantinescu, President of the Senate Tariceanu, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Iordache, Ladies and gentlemen, Your Excellencies,

It is a joy and a privilege for me to address you, in the opening of this traditional meeting of the Romanian diplomacy. Our meeting today takes place in an international context much different than in 2015. Significant changes have occurred, many in the neighborhood of Romania, or at EU level. Therefore, we are living in a new, complex and preoccupying reality both for us and our external partners. This reality requires defining coherent, efficient and trustworthy foreign policies. On the one hand, Romania knows a growth and an economic potential that we should place increasingly more at the core of our diplomatic vision.

Ladies and gentlemen, I will refer, in the first part of my speech, to the European context. Unfortunately, the term crisis has become lately such a trivial matter in the political and diplomatic language of the European Union. The illegal migration wave that started in spring, last year, in our Southern neighborhood, reached its peak along the so-called Balkan route. In turn, Italy, Greece, followed by a many EU Member States directly felt the pressure of this migration wave. The Community' s response was deficient. Without assigning responsibilities, the truth is that we have not succeeded together to finding the best solutions. Moreover, in the far too heated ensuing debates, we lost something of the political cohesion of the decision –making process at EU level. These things risk to deepen the sense of discouragement in our societies, citizens expected of us efficiency through unity of action. And that contributed, in my opinion, substantially to the mood that triggered a result like the one in the UK referendum. Returning to the diplomacy of crisis which occupied our political time and energy in this last year, I cannot but remind the multiple terrorist attacks in Europe. Just as those in Turkey or the Middle East are vivid in my memory. Terrorism has become the most serious asymmetric threat of our times, and along with the migration, it cannot be fought off unless there are common ideas, solutions and actions. We lack too often information and instruments we need to take pro-active policies. It took us  more than a year from the first terrorist attack in Paris, to adopt a decision on passenger name and record at European level. This shows that even in crisis situations, our reactions at community level still remain slow. I have to remind the essential role of the cross-border cooperation, the continuous exchange of data among our authorities, and the fact that for more than five years, Romania 's entry into Schengen has been denied  for political reasons, which currently seem too me entirely outdated compared to realities we all are facing. Romania, the Cabinet I am leading have seriously reflected on all these realities. Undoubtedly, Romania counts on the resilience and the renewal capacity of the European project and is determined to invest its diplomatic and political resources in this respect. Both in the negotiations of the UK leaving the EU and the community redefining process, Romania will start from the premise which is fundamental to me, the society’s involvement in a broader sense, the business environment, civil society, citizens, in generating solutions and in re-setting the EU institutions. Our vision remains anchored in the key values and principles which represent the EU foundation. From them and from the constitutional framework of the current treaties, we think that reforms can start to target the functioning and the dynamics of the European institutions which would confer more legitimacy to the decisions made at European level and more political cohesion in a 28 member state Europe, and a 27 member state one in the future. For this purpose, Romania needs partners. We have already expressed our openness to the European states which started the internal reflection processes. We have had bilateral discussions at the highest level with Germany, France, Netherlands, and recently, with Poland. We will continue such contacts and we will pragmatically offer proposals and ideas, but at the same time, we will continuously plead for the need of a joint reflection process, coordinated too which would not create or deepen gaps between various community blocks. As Romania’s responsibility as I see it, implies not just responsibility for our country but simultaneously for the joint European project , and I would go further, responsibility for the stability, security and prosperity of our region. In such a context, the pro-European approach remains an essential element of our diplomatic activity. I would say that beyond diplomacy, it will translate into appropriate internal policies. The priorities of Romania’s strategic agenda inside the European Union are well- identified and they correspond to priorities also established at European level, or expressed, more or cless clear at European level, namely: sustainable economic growth, jobs creation, competitiveness, internal market consolidation, migration management, combating terrorism, resolution of security challeneges at the EU borders. Only if the EU is able to achieve tangible results along these lines, will we be able to regain our confidence in the European project. These priorities coeherently embrace the national agenda. We owe our citizens stability, safety, prosperity, more effective and transparent institutions, securing the fundamental rights and freedoms. The realities specific to Romania imposed the Government I am leading, a sustained enforcement of measures and policies to maintain the macroeconomic policies, in the context of an electoral year, but also a deep change of mentality at the level of the society, a new approach of the relations with the citizen, with the taxpayer, and with the business environment. We need a much solid, responsible, transparent, efficient administration, one adjusted to the citizens’needs. These are the big lines of our country’s vision.

With respect to the Presidency of the European Union Council that Romania will hold in 2019, we are in full process of internal preparation for undertaking the mandate under the aspect of the agenda and the issues that Romania will propose in the community discussions, but also under the logistic, material and human resources aspects, to properly carry out this major responsibility that Romania will have to undertake. We have set up a bureau for the coordination of preparations for presidency at the level of the PM Chancellery, structure to secure the coordination of internal steps. We will soon start the dialogue with Finland, and Croatia to discuss the trio of presidencies it will form. Defining the contents of our presidency will be an ample exercise in which we will identify priorities, and then back them to materialize. We will come up over the ensuing time with a concrete initiative of creating a support analysis and shaping capacity after models existing in several member states, a structure to help us analyze and process data, information which may afterwards support stands and views that Romania will have at European level. You know that we will need to manage compex policies implying this type of analysis, in order to come up later with consolidated and consistent proposals.

With respect to bilateral relations with European partner states within the European Union, we have extended a great attention especially to deepening cooperation with strategic partners. We registered a favorable dynamics, a deepening and a special diversification of cooperation with Germany, and we are further pursuing the development of cooperation with lands, with France by signing the new Roadmap of the Strategic Partnership. A significant evolution occured in the relationship with Netherlands, by resuming political dialogue at the Prime Minister level, after a ten -year break. We maintain close relations with Italy and Spain, countries with important Romanian communities. Regarding the situation with Turkey, our major objective is a stable Turkey inside NATO and key partner of the European Union, anchored in our common values. It is important that Turkey keeps its democratic path, as it remains an essential player in the efforts to secure regional stability.

We support granting the due attention to the eastern neighbourhood, within the external actions of the European Union, with a focus on supporting the partners who wish to get closer to the European Union and who proved will and capacity of making progress and reforms. It is important that we further support the Eastern Partnership, as a strategic action instrument of the Union in relation with the partner countries. Romania will continue to actively support the steps of the European Union in the context of the multilateral efforts of stabilising the situation in the southern neighbourhood, including the crises in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, with a special importance attached to solving the migration crisis.

Starting from our study of developments, we can be more brave, in designing together with our partners, some action lines. With respect to Romania, within NATO, our interest is strengthening the role of the Alliance, on the level of collective defence, an attention focused on the Eastern and southeast flank and implicitly in the Black Sea area. Strengthening the deterrant and defence capacity of all allied states, by solid measures of reassurance, strengthening the role of NATO, in projecting stability and promoting a strategic and coherent approach for consolidation of the defence and security capacity of eastern and southern partners. We intend to revitalize the defence industry and to manage to produce equipment and high-technology equipment and components, at NATO standards, in many areas, such as aviation or communications. Also, we plan to upgrade the critical infrastructure and the capacity to withstand threats. We want the continuation and deepening of the Strategic Partnership with the United States, which is an essential pillar of the foreign policy and national security. Besides capitalizing on the high level of bilateral political dialogue, Romanian –American coordination and cooperation in the political and military field, whereby consolidation of the US presence in Romania, it is necessary to develop the other fields of cooperation as well. I am thinking here about the economic, investment, research, innovation and education areas. It is the reason for which the visit I made in the US in May, included a strong economic component. We had meetings with the Administration officials in fields such as: agriculture, trade, energy, meetings with companies that invested or want to invest in Romania. We will continue to stimulate the involvement of the American partners in the actions undertaken by the Romanian authorities, designed to boost the attractiveness of business environment in Romania, to be able to capitalize on the economic potential of the partnership, to which we need to confer a new dimension and consistency in the years to come. 

We actively continue the efforts to promote and support the Republic of Moldova’s European integration aspirations, having here a pragmatic approach. In the first half of the year, we took actions to support the stabilisation of the political situation and regaining trust of the international partners of the Republic of Moldova.

Last week, we made the transfer of the first tranche of 60 million euros from the 150 million euros loan that Romania engaged for the Republic of Moldova. We wanted not only to cover some immediate needs, but it was important to use this financing tranche to release the financial aid of the other partners of the Republic of Moldova, I am thinking here about IMF and the European Commission. Romania is now guarantor of Republic of Moldova’s credibility, by the way it addressed this pragmatic relationship with the Republic of Moldova, this year. We have the premises for the association of other external financers. Progress has been achieved with respect to the Roadmap undertaken by Chisinau Cabinet to the European Union, a staff –level agreement with IMF was concluded, the European Commsision is preparing the release of the financial assistance and may propose micro-financial assistance if the Republic of Moldova fulfills the actions agreed with the Monetary Fund. Our governmental action remains a firm and consistent one in supporting on concrete levels the reforms in the Republic of Moldova, and I do not refer here only to the governmental cooperation, but also to cooperation with local public authorities that we want to stimulate over the ensuing period, including through financial support instruments, but also by stimulating the twinning programme with local public authorities in Romania. With respect to the Eastern area and regional coperation, the objective pursued at regional level is first continuation of the bilateral framework development with Eastern partners, especially with states that signed association and in-depth free trade agreements with the European Union, and with states in Caucasus and Central Asia, in relation to which we have strategic interests such as those related to energy security.

Romania already enjoys a prestigious tradition as active upholder of regional acooperation processes, with examples of visible and successful involvement such as regional cooperation with Western Balkans, Black Sea synergy, EU Strategy for Danube and other such regional cooperation formats. We should extend a thorough attention to the expansion and transfer of this experience in East, including in the context created by the European neighborhood policy by revigorating a spirit of initiative and the European interset in regional cooperation in the area. From our point of view, it is important to maintain on the European agenda of interest what is happening in the Eastern area of the European Union and in the cooperation with the Eastern Partnership. 

Regarding the Middle East, Romania further attaches a special importance to the Middle East region. We have in view both the consolidation of relationship with traditional partners, such as Israel, and the increase in the economic and trade relations with other partners in the region, with which we have a good experience of cooperation and an important potential to capitalize, including with the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and I am thinking here especially about the economic dimension that we need to highlight in the cooperation with the countries in this area. Asia –Pacific is a traditional cooperation area and increasingly more an engine of development and global economic growth. I think it is necessary here a recalibration of the steps to invigorate bilateral relations with Asian states. We focus on the further development of the relations with the People’s Republic of China, in the spirit of those agreed in the high –level political dialogue, and within the framework to stimulate the relations of economic and investment cooperation within the 16+1 format, but also strengthen the partnerships concluded with Japan, Republic of Korea and with India, and on boosting relations with countries of South and Southeast Asia, fostering cooperation in which I think that Romania should invest much in the years to come. In this context, in July, I made an official visit in Vietnam and I attended the Asia – European Union summit in Mongolia. Vietnam and Mongolia are countries with a very dynamic economic evolution and partners for which Romania represented a provider of development vectors more than two decades ago. I presented arguments in favor of turning Romania into a hub for the interconnection projects between Europe and Asia, either freight infrastructure, energy, communications or interhuman and cultural relations, and I outlined the advantages conferred by the geographical position of Romania, and connection to Europe provided by Danube. I would like to outline the importance of capitalizing on the advantage of the existence in some of these countries of some communities of former students in Romania, that can be instrumental in boosting cooperation relations with the respective countries. I think we have here an advantage that many countries, from Europe including, do not have, and which we do not capitalize enough. There is in many of these countries, a dynamics and a significant emulation amidst these communities of citizens of respective countries , who studied in Romania, many still speaking Romanian and are able to create bridges to relaunch in a very pragmatic way and in current circumstances, the relations with these countries, including the economic, social, cultural relations. One of the priorities of the Government I am leading is to advance the institutional construction of the economic diplomacy, and identification of new cooperation and investment opportunities, at a broader global level. In this respect, we have taken several measures this year, such as: creation of a new structure within the Ministry of Economy, to meet the current deamnds of Romania’s economic policies. In this respect, a foreign investment directorate, Invest Romania and an European Affairs Directorate were streamlined. We are thinking about reconsidering the foreign network of the Economy Ministry, export and investment strategies, to reflect Romania’s current capacities, its potential and current interest, at economic level. This process will need to continue and it requires a close cooperation, both abroad, between various actors involved, including the body of Ambassadors, your direct support, members of the trade network that as I told, needs to be streamlined and better professionalized, attaches on agriculture, a new structure of attaches, that is in a final stage of implementation as well as among external representatives and coordinated entities in Romania, and it is mainly about cooperation with economic environment, with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry from Romania and other enterprises’ associations with economic character. We need to show a greater openness towards dialogue with business community, with social partners, to support and stimulate an increasingly dynamic Romanian entrepreneurial sector, including abroad. We are actively promoting the interinstitutional steps towards diversifying Romania’s tarde, economic portfolio on relevant third markets, especially in Asia, Latin America and Africa, where, we have been less present lately, and where the traditional potential of economic relations is insufficiently capitalized. We intend to boost the economic diplomacy by promoting national products and services and attracting new investment in Romania. Joining OECD is a priority of foreign policy, actions supported including through the visit I made at the headquarters of the organisation, in Paris, in June this year, designed to increase the visibility of our steps. Romania’s stage objective is creating conditions to obtain the political invitation to join, on the occasion of the next enlargement wave. In addition to this subject, beyond economic diplomacy that we need to consolidate, I think we can be more present in the cooperation and development policy. In this respect, we promoted a draft law this year, to confer the Foreign Ministry and other Ministries that can get involved, the required legal and institutional instrument for Romania to create and consolidate a genuine instrument to implement cooperation and development projects with countries or regions demanding Romania’s presence there. This year’s parliamentary elections will mark for the first time the possibility that Romanian citizens vote otherwise that they were accustomed to do it, I refer here to Romanians living abroad. The vote by mail was introduced, and we hope an increasing number of nationals choose this modality to vote, we will adopt this week an emergency ordinance that will allow us, in a certain well –defined framework, to increase the number of polling stations for Romanians abroad, there where the size of communities make the diplomatic missions not large enough to be proper polling stations, to secure decent standards to all those who want and have the right to constitutionally express their right to vote.

With respect to Diaspora, the relation with Romanians abroad, providing decent and responsible services for them should be at the core of our diplomacy’s preoccupations. We will launch as soon as possible a new vision for Romania’s relationship with its Diaspora, and I count on you, Romania’s diplomats, for its implementation. I am sure that the diplomatic missions in charge of organizing the polling stations for Romanian nations with right to vote, who are living abroad, will do their best this year too to prepare in the best way possible, the organisation of the polling stations and to thus offer the Romanian nationals the possibility to exercise their fundamental right to vote. As a conclusion, the fundamental orientations of the Romanian foreign policies should capitalize on Romania’s membership of EU and NATO, and the Strategic Partnership with the United States. At the same time, we intend to better outline the strategic position of Romania and the relevance of its foreign approaches. It is necessary to correlate the foreign policy in terms of objectives and priorities with the security and defence policy, in the context of the new national defence strategy , implementation of the recently adopted Global Foreign Policy and Security Strategy of the European Union and of the pursuance of the Warsaw NATO Summit decisions implementation. Romania will consistently promote actions designed to strengthen its profile in the European and Euro-Atlantic family and it will continue the strategic or special coordination partnerships it has with various states, furst of all, with the United States, and with European partners. There are many areas of foreign policy in which Romania has the opportunity to present its vision, ideas and initiative in the period to come. We cannot progress too much without your help, of Romania’s missions abroad. We need your ideas, work capacity and your involvement in attaining these objectives. Therefore, I invite you to actively participate in these debates, starting with the works of this Annual Meeting of the Romanian Diplomacy. Thank you very much, I wish you success in your activity and in implementing the objectives we have set. 


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