Some of Romania’s top foreign policy priorities, with an emphasis on the 10 years of the country’s EU membership.
A number of anniversaries and mandates of great European and international importance are lining up for Romania in the near future, at a time when the global context is more complicated than it has been for a long time. The Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu made this statement recently, in an extensive interview given to Radio Romania. In today’s show we look at some of Romania’s top foreign policy priorities, insisting on the 10 years of the country’s EU membership. Other topics, such as Romania’s Schengen accession, its relations with the US, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Moldova, Bucharest’s position on the refugee crisis and terrorism, and Romania’s economic goals will be discussed in future editions.So what are the key foreign policy priorities for Romania in the forthcoming period?
Teodor Melescanu: “This year we celebrate a decade of European Union membership and nearly one and a half decades since the country joined NATO. Rebuilding our ties with the past, we have returned to our natural place within the Western, European and Euro-Atlantic family. But from this place, which is one of unprecedented prosperity and security, we must remain strategically connected to the core of this community. Our key priorities are very clear: the Great War centennial, the presidency of the European Council in 2019, our candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council in the 2019 elections and a special goal, namely Romania’s joining the OECD. I’ll start with Europe, because this is where we live. We believe our core duty is to move towards firmly and sustainably consolidated integration and convergence. We are particularly concerned with the rights of Romanians in the European Union, including in the context of Brexit, with our Schengen accession, with the security of Europe, with the cohesion policy, the common agricultural policy and the integration of the single market, the completion of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, the management of migration flows, curbing climate change, the social component and many others.”
Romania’s European interests cannot be separated from its security interests, from a transatlantic and global perspective. At present Romania is not only a beneficiary of NATO but also a relevant participant in deciding and pursuing the alliance’s objectives, whether we talk about consolidating its defense and deterrence capacity on its eastern flank and keeping the balance and coherence between its northern and southern regions, hosting the anti-missile shield, contributing to peace keeping missions in Afghanistan and supporting Ukraine’s cyber security, the Romanian Foreign Minister has also said.
Referring to the 10 years that have passed since Romania became a EU member, Teodor Melescanu has said there has been a huge transformation at society level: “These years have seen an unprecedented development of Romania, under all aspects, that is consolidating democracy, developing its institutional and administrative capacity and in particular economic growth. Romanian citizens are today enjoying their rights and liberties granted by the European citizenship. The cultural exchange and the access to the European education network for students, are some other examples that I would give. In economic terms, Romania’s GDP has almost doubled during these ten years of European membership, and this happened against the background of the Union having been faced with a rather difficult economic and financial situation. 10 years after joining the EU, Romania plans to develop its capacity to use in an effective manner all instruments provided by the EU to bridge development gaps between regions and to ensure higher living standards for all its citizens.”
As for bilateral diplomacy, Romania is planning to act on three main directions. The first one is a tighter and more structured cooperation with its neighbours, that are also EU members, such as Bulgaria and Hungary, but also with Moldova and Ukraine. The second direction is the consolidation of the ties with strategic partners such as France, Germany, and also the UK from the Brexit perspective, as well as Poland, Spain and Italy from the perspective of the joint security interests. The third direction is about consolidating bilateral dialogue with the other EU members, such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Baltic states and also with Austria, as holder of the previous 6-month presidency, Finland and Croatia, as Romania’s partners in the presidential triad, as well as the EU members and candidate countries, Teodor Melescanu has also said.