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M. Teodor Meleșcanu

Minister of Foreign Affairs in Romania

I offer a brief reflection on Romania’s strategic challenges for the coming year.

Centennials may note that Romania benefits today from an unprecedented security and prosperity.

Our efforts are based primarily on major objectives : the Great Centennial as a reference for reflection and projection; the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2019; the candidacy for a non-permanent member seat for Security Council; joining the OECD in its next enlargement.

The Presidency of the Council in the first half of 2019 is at the top of our list of priorities. This is the most complex responsibility we have had to assume in recent decades, and a historic opportunity.

The European future is being built right now, through a process of crucial debates and decisions. We must do our best to ensure that it is a sustainable future. Romania wants more cohesion, unity and convergence in our European values, to restore citizens’ trust in the European project. The EU Summit will be a highlight of this journey on 9 May 2019 in Sibiu.

We aim to strengthen the vocation of the EU as a credible global player by supporting the High Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini. The effectiveness of external action, through progress in the implementation of its overall strategy, therefore remains vital.

We are particularly focused on the future of the CFSP and the CSDP – where our accents are resilience, valorisation of EU civil niche capabilities, EU-NATO cooperation, complementarity and synergy.

On the agenda of our presidency, a special place is reserved for the Western Balkans, whose future is a real strategic issue for Europe. The Union must keep its commitments and boost the enlargement process.

For our European stability, we owe it to neighbouring countries to support their efforts to build resilient institutions, to consolidate their security, sovereignty and prosperity. On the neighbourhood front, we are also aiming to strengthen the Eastern Partnership. Supporting the European future of the Republic of Moldova remains a key objective for our country.

We are also pushing for increased EU attention to the Black Sea, through a new sectorial agenda that is revitalizing Synergy and regional cooperation.
Our Presidency of the EU Danube Strategy, which we took on the 1st of November, will focus on its visibility and concrete impact.

Given that the global environment is accelerating turbulence, security issues become decisive, in a context of increased interdependence by the ever faster movement of news, people, resources, products. Populisms arise, exploiting or even raising doubts about our projects – local, European, multilateral. Sources of conflict are multiplying.

Romania is taking part in the decision and implementation of Allied security objectives. We are making a substantial contribution to strengthening NATO’s defensive posture and deterrence on the eastern flank, we host missile defence system facilities, we are major contributors to Afghanistan and we are managing the cyber defence fund for Ukraine. Our credibility is reinforced by the increase of the defence budget to 2% of GDP.

A strong, pragmatic transatlantic relationship based on common values and interests remains essential to safeguard the world order. In this context, our strategic partnership with the United States is a fundamental pillar.

We remain fully committed to multilateralism based on principles and rules, capable of ensuring peace, stability, respect for human rights and reducing disparities in development on a global scale. Romania wants to help adapt the upcoming United Nations with new solutions to global problems: this is the message of our candidacy for the Security Council.

For the purpose of economic convergence and deeper European integration, we have an interest in renewed growth policies – as witnessed by the recent Summit and Business Forum of the Three Seas Initiative, held in Bucharest, aiming to capitalize on the connectivity potential of the Adriatic-Pontic-Baltic arc, to reduce the gaps in EU and to strengthen the transatlantic link. This platform is supported by European institutions and the major partners that are Berlin and Washington. Many transport, energy and digital projects are already planned.

These are the main lines of our European and global action for 2019, serving the Union, our citizens and our partners!

 

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