Romania ambassador message on national day of Great Union Of Romania

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On 1st of December 2020, we celebrate the 102 years since the realization of our Great Union. One hundred and two years back, the century long ideal of national unity has been achieved, building the foundation of the modern Romanian state. The anniversary of the Great Union has given us the opportunity to honour the memory of the sacrifices made for laying the foundation of new Romania which ultimately placed us in the midst of great European family. The end of the First World War and the armistice concluded in 1918, represents a crucial moment in the history of mankind causing deep changes both in international relations, and at socio-cultural level. We, in Romania and in Europe, will always remember that 1,1 million soldiers from the Indian subcontinent had fought courageously and heroically in different battle fields of the WWI and 60.000 of them, mostly from today Pakistani Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, had paid the ultimate price in defending the ideals of peace, freedom, liberty, dignity, democracy and fundamental human rights. Today we pay tribute and honour them as much as we honour our heroes!
More than 100 years after the Great Union, Romania reaffirms its attachment to the principles of international law, promotion of mutual respect and good understanding, to dialogue and to multiculturalism, values that are the basis of its international profile and external action. Today, Romania is a security provider and enjoys unprecedented development, security and welfare. Our collective duty is to protect these values and secure them in the medium and long term, as well to prepare for challenges ahead.
The key word of the Romanian European policy is union and with this call to unity we have exercised two years ago our first ever mandate at the Presidency of the EU Council. That has been a new opportunity for us to show that our profound European vocation is bringing a tangible contribution to a powerful, credible and inclusive Europe. The anniversary of our Unity Day is a good reminder and an incentive towards Romania pleading for more unity at the European level. At the helm of the European Union, we fully proved our capacity to build consensus and find efficient and viable solutions for our common European future.
The year 2020 is, without doubt, marked by the new challenges, posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in front of Romanian authorities and to the whole world.
In order to support population and businesses, the Romanian authorities adopted a series of fiscal, monetary and macro-financial measures, including additional funds for the healthcare system, covering partially the wages of parents staying home for the period the schools are closed, measures to support businesses including covering in part the wages of self-employed and workers in danger of being laid off partially subsidizing the wages of those returning to work, deferral of utilities payments for SMEs. In addition, the government has provided guarantees for loan guarantees and subsidized interest for working capital and investment of SMEs and to support the procurement of work equipment by SMEs. Other measures include faster reimbursement of VAT, suspending foreclosures on overdue debtors, suspending tax authorities’ control, discounts for paying corporate income taxes, postponement of property tax for certain period of time, exempting the hospitality industry from the specific tax for certain period of time.
The dimension of pandemic asks for common action, solidarity and cooperation at the global level, as well as commitment to an unprecedented collective engagement. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down and even suspended some of our current vital work, disrupted our regular cooperation activities, forced us, going to the personal level, “to distance” in order to protect ourselves, but also challenged us to find new ways and means, using state of the art technologies and innovations, in order to overcome it. I’m confident that working together we will soon return to a “new and better world”.
The Covid-19 pandemic caused tremendous problems for the whole world, but also thought us many lessons for the future and acted as an accelerator of many processes and actions which otherwise would have not been considered by the mankind.
Pakistan represents an important partner for Romania in the South Asian region. We acknowledge Pakistan’s efforts in fighting terrorism, militancy and radical extremism and hope that these endeavours will continue to be an important part of international war on terror. In spite of these challenges, which obviously affected the advancement of many economic projects, we welcome the recent positive dynamics of the Pakistani economy, namely the steady and robust economic growth, as well the opportunities created for the foreign companies interested in doing business in Pakistan. Romania is eager to work with friendly Pakistan for taking forward the bilateral agenda, as well the cooperation within the EU-Pakistan framework and in multilateral formats, especially in the UN. I warmly welcome the spirit of Romania-Pakistan relations, characterized by friendship and collaboration and the new dynamism witnessed in the recent years with a result driven political dialogue reflecting a clear desire of both states for developing a pragmatic relationship in fields of mutual interests. I will not go into details of the numerous projects we have initiated in cooperation with Pakistan but I cannot help mentioning the two patrol boats built in Damen Galati, a Romanian shipyard, for the Pakistani Navy, both commissioned this year, with very good prospects that a contract for two more boats to be signed in the future.
The year 2020 marks the celebration of 56 years of the bilateral relations between Romania and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, characterized by friendship, mutual interest and collaboration. In recent years, the relations witnessed new dynamics, with a result-oriented driven political dialogue and positive developments in the economic/commercial, educational and cultural fields.
In the economic realm, we praise the recent dynamics of bilateral economic cooperation with the IR of Pakistan, which has significantly diversified, in fields like shipbuilding, aeronautics and transport, and increased to a certain limited though extent. Over a five-year period of time, overall, the bilateral trade balance was positive for Romania with an increase in percentage terms, a bilateral format we share interest to further enhance and diversify. During the last 5 years or so, exchanges between the Romanian and Pakistani Chambers of Commerce have been taking place, stimulating business to business and people to people contacts.
At a cultural level, Romania benefits of a good reputation and experiences fruitful relations with IR of Pakistan. To give one example, in Islamabad, there is a monument dedicated to the national poets Mihai Eminescu and Alama Iqbal. The six meter long marble, bronze and granite monument, located in Blue Area on one of the most important boulevards in the capital of Pakistan, features Pakistani architectural elements and a representation of the Infinite Column, the masterpiece of the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi.
The political-diplomatic dialogue is insured by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, which over the years was regularly facilitated at the State Secretary level. The last event in the framework of bilateral consultation took place in October 2020 when the Romanian Secretary of State, Cornel Feruta and his counterpart Pakistani Foreign Secretary, Mehmood Sohail had extensive talks via Webex, covering all range of bilateral relations and international cooperation. Important decisions have been taken at that moment aimed to further enhance and develop the collaboration between Romania and Pakistan.
At Parliamentary level, Romania and the IR of Pakistan enjoy close, active and fruitful collaboration through Romania-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group established not long ago and the Pakistani-Romania Parliamentary Friendship Group formed in September, 2018.
Education is yet another field where we experienced positive evolutions and we have a good potential for development. A Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation between Kamra PAC and the Polytechnic University of Bucharest was signed 3 years ago and is valid for 5 years. This format provides exchange of students and researchers, the development of joint research and development projects, cooperation in individual projects, teacher exchange a.o.
This year we had an increase of tree fold of number of scholarships offered by the Romanian state, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Pakistani citizens for the scholar year 2020-2021 and under the new programme of scholarships offered by the Romanian to foreign citizens this number could further raise.
Bilateral agreements and Executive Programs implemented make possible that approximately 200 students are enrolled in Romanian Universities, especially in the Medicine and Economics specialities.
With regards to people to people contacts, in order to bring together business and civil society representatives, graduates of higher educations, former ambassadors, diplomats, retired officers established a Pakistan – Romania Friendship Association, and a group called Friends of Romania was created in Lahore. Pakistan-Romania Business Council is also an institution created to boost economic bilateral relations. Romania has also Honorary Consulates in Sindh, Punjab and KP which are fully functional and have an important contribution to the overall development of the Romanian- Pakistani relationship.
Cooperation within international organizations is traditionally excellent, the two countries providing mutual support for their candidacy at the UN and other international bodies. A number of mutually supportive arrangements have been developed in the past decade but also for the 2020-2021 time frames.

To end up my short presentation, I will quote again HE Mr. MAHMOUD Qureshi, the foreign minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, who says in an interview granted to a Romanian reputed magazine: “Pakistan-Romania relations established since 1964, are marked by stability and cordiality. The robustness of this relationship picked up pace in the very early stages of our bilateral relations…. Since it’s joining European Union in 2007, Romania’s relations with Pakistan have continued with renewed synergies. We are now working on supplementing our bilateral relations with new dimensions and on a larger scale. While our high level political interactions have continued to evolve over these years unabated, we are now transforming our relations into a multifaceted and long-term partnership through mutual collaboration in such domains as trade, defence, education & science, culture, people-to-people contacts, tourism etc.”
Thank you very much. God bless you all. Romania Pakistan zindabad!

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