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Thursday, 07 Nov 2019

Speech by Prime Minister Ludovic Orban at the Symposium entitled "The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Romanian Revolution of December 1989"


[Check Against Delivery]


Ludovic Orban: Chairman of the Academy, dear members of the Romanian Academy, Your Excellencies, Ambassadors, dear guests,

I begin by congratulating the Academy for this symbolic initiative which clearly shows that we must keep in mind this symbol which practically separated the free world from the world of handcuffed, crushed people deprived of freedom, with the dignity trampled on by communist-type regimes. It is, for me, an honour and a privilege to deliver this speech on behalf of the Government, in this distinguished hall, founding institution of modern Romania and meeting place of the most enlightened minds of our nation in the last century and a half.

Coming to share these thoughts with you, as the Prime Minister of a government made up of the National Liberal Party, I feel even more the historical and symbolic significance of the event that is gathering us here today. The Berlin Wall has represented for 28 years of our history and of our lives, for most of those present here, the material expression of an oppressive reality that many thought we could never escape from. It is a great lesson that time teaches us, making us look at the relics of one of the most sinister attempts to confine human aspirations, bearing in mind the fact that we live in a Europe whose history without the Iron Curtain is already longer than the one when the Wall divided us. When it was built in 1961, the Wall seemed to be the mark of a definitive reality in front of which nothing remained to be done.

Few were those who made things differently on one or the other side of the Wall, those who understood that a regime keeping his people prisoners for reason of failing to win their confidence and loyalty, is a regime that can and should be fought against. The Fall of the Wall, in 1989, under the enormous weight of the failure of the communist regimes, was also the result of the moral and political action of those who maintained hope, of those who believed that something could be done even in the face of the most brutal reality.

It is true that, unfortunately, political memory is short. That is why I am grateful to the Romanian Academy, that today calls us to remember that trust, faith in people, in their strength, should be at the core of any political vision. As a member of a generation that lived its youth in the shadow of this symbol of tyranny, I also remember the outburst of hope of that day when communism fell, in a real but also symbolic way, into ruin. I also have the bitter memory of the transition, but also the acute awareness of the fact that the moment at the end of 1989 was the one in which Romania regained its destiny of a democratic country, member of the European Union. But political and historical destiny is never a given, it is not a path laying in front of us, and that we only have to walk on, in a triumphal way; it is a duty and a lesson we must carry in life. Artificial divisions, devastating political errors are still a part of our world, Europe itself being tested today by attempts to build new walls, perhaps not of concrete, but of the still more dangerous matter of prejudice, distrust, manipulation and bad interests.

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