Speech delivered by the President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis, at the Senate and Chamber of Deputies special joint meeting celebrating the National Day of Romania

14:05 | 02 December 2019

The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis, on Monday, 2 December 2019, at the Palace of Parliament, delivered a speech at the special joint meeting of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, celebrating the National Day of Romania.

The text of the speech, as translated, can be read below:

Mr. Presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies,

Mr. Prime Minister,

Your Beatitude,

Your Eminence,

Your Highness,

Mses. and Messrs. Senators and Deputies,

Mses. and Messrs. Members of the Government,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My fellow Romanians,

Thirty years after the communist regime fell and we regained our freedom, we are celebrating our National Day thinking of the generations that made possible the democratic and European Romania to exist today.

The Great Union in 1918 represented the expression of a nation’s collective effort to make the dream of unification come true.

The heroism of the Romanian soldiers, the vision of the Royal Family, the ability of the policy-makers, the decisive involvement by the elites of that time, the determination of the national minorities and mostly the contribution by the ordinary Romanians led to fulfilling the goal of unifying the country.

During the troubled last century, the Great Union paved the way for reforms, for modernisation and development, suddenly stopped then by World War II and the establishment of dictatorships. Those who had made the Union possible died in communist prisons because they refused to deny their faith in a free, independent and sovereign Romania.

Therefore, today we are paying deserved and pious tribute to all our predecessors who gave their lives for the prosperity of the Romanian nation, enriching, generation after generation, with hard labour and bloodshed, this work of glory, so that we and our children can look ahead, fully confident in our future.

Many Romanians died in wars or in the darkness of the hard years of dictatorship, defending the fundamental principles of our European nation. Romanians lost their lives on the battlefields, in the theatres of operations all over the world to defend Romania’s interests, in the communist prisons or during the bloody days of December 1989.

We have the duty to keep vivid remembrance to all these heroes and to engage firmly that the individual rights and freedoms will never be broken again and their sacrifice minimalised.

Freedom, equality and democracy, the principles stipulated in the Resolution of the National Assembly at Alba Iulia on 1 December 1918, were the grounds for the new state and represented also the ideals people died for in the communist prisons and in December 1989.

Our past is one of contrasts. On one hand, there are remarkable moments, emblematic persons who played a key role in modernising and transforming Romania. On the other hand, we have a troubled and painful legacy, which is the hard period of dictatorship, which brought about the destruction of democracy and of the rule of law, profanation of the human dignity, infringement of fundamental rights, criminal policies, disinformation, torture and tremendous suffering.

The bravery of our forefathers, their determination and courage with which they fought to fulfil the national objectives, their sacrifice on the battlefields, the extraordinary force with which they opposed the criminal regimes of the 20th century have to be models for us and to guide us in all the actions we take for the benefit of our country.

On the other hand, the atrocities and abuses during the communist regime have to serve as an extremely important lesson, which we have to assume honestly, which has to teach us that democracy, freedom, and human rights are the most precious things we have, which we have to fight for and defend unceasingly, with all the force we have.

Any threat to human dignity and to the rule of law, if not opposed efficiently, can pave the way to abuse at any moment.

Dangers still exist and they will persist, but we having a mature and vigilant society, citizens with a high civic sense, who know their rights and do not hesitate to fight for them, represents an essential guarantee for the democratic future of Romania.

The three decades since the Revolution in December 1989 meant thirty years of difficult transition. However, Romania’s membership to the European Union and to NATO and the strong strategic partnership with the United States of America unequivocally prove that the foundation we have built during all these years is a solid one and that we have a working democracy.

Mses. and Messrs. Senators and Deputies,

This year was one of many elections. Although we have faced numerous tensions and conflicts, with the political use of sensitive topics and with attempts to widen the gaps in the society, the great achievement of this year is that the Romanians, through their vote, stated loud and clear that they want Romania to be a pro-European county, strongly connected to the values of democracy and of the rule of law, a prosperous country, with efficient public systems, independent justice and with a political class that serves the citizens.

Through their choices in the referendum, in the European ballot and then in the presidential elections, the Romanians have voted not to forget who we are and where we want to arrive. What connection with the historical ideals we are celebrating these days can be stronger than this firm reconfirmation of our national identity!  

Thanks to all these resounding victories of the democratic voting on this first year of the second century of age of our country, we have unquestionably proved that the Romanians, despite the difficult circumstances, are true Europeans and share and assume the same values and benchmarks as the other citizens of our old continent. 

On the stage of the most representative forum of democracy, I would like to send best regards also to those Romanians that life and history have spread all over the world, far from our borders, but who have proved, by a participation which was amazing in number and option, that are constituents of our nation. 

Our diaspora is closely connected to the life of the Romanian society not only in their thoughts but also in their action. This loyalty for the homeland has to be acknowledged institutionally as well – for instance, by substantially increasing the number of legitimate representatives of the Romanians abroad.

Honoured audience,

In a Europe where, in some countries, democracy is attacked by populist leaders who do not have the sense of responsibility, by the dangerous denying of values that yesterday were considered to be inalienable, by decisions that appear incompatible with the respect owed to the partners and allies, the Romanians have unequivocally chosen the same ethical and political values that animated the visionary parents who gave birth to the European Union.   

We, those who are leading the destiny of our nation, have the fundamental duty for those whom we represent to fully observe their options and to turn their will into our obligation! 

There is only one way to keep a society united, said Nicolae Iorga, and that is the ideal that gathers all the energies and resources around.   

More than ever we need cohesion around the great national projects, we need unity, consensus, tolerance and solidarity. This is the only way for us to build the country we wish to have. 

The policy-makers and the ruling people have to focus their efforts to respond to the needs of the society, while their partnership with the citizens has to be honest and credible. 

Romania has to become that country where those who have left will want to come back and the Romanians at home have all the necessary means to fulfil their aspirations.  

To reform the big public systems, to modernise the public administration, to strengthen the public institutions and regain the citizens’ trust in them, to capitalise on the Romanians’ creative energies, to protect our national identity, our patrimony and our resources, to ensure economic stability and sustainable development, to promote the democratic values are only a few of the objectives we have to meet.

It will not be easy, but our past has taught us that any wide-scope project requires hard work, seriousness and professionalism. The results are remarkable when the Romanians wish and support all these noble causes. 

I am honoured and feel highly responsible to be part of the project of rebuilding Romania. I am confident in our capacity, as a nation, to make the things work properly, so that Romania is in accordance with the values and principles we believe in. 

We are the artisans of the future Romania and the modernisation and development we are looking forward to for such a long time depend on our actions. 

Together, let us make Romania normal, that strong country our forefathers dreamt at, that democratic society those who died for freedom 30 years ago hoped for, a single, prosperous country of us all, as our young people wish it to be!

Happy anniversary, Romania!

Happy anniversary, Romanians!