U.S. Embassy Bucharest
Thursday, July 1, 2021
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, President Iohannis, Prime Minister Citu, Ministers, diplomatic colleagues, officers, distinguished friends, and partners. We just enjoyed a magnificent flyover featuring both Romanian and British aircraft. This is a tremendous symbol of Allied solidarity.
Thank you for joining us as we celebrate America’s 245th birthday. It is an honor and a pleasure to have you with us today. It is also a real pleasure to see so many people after such a long period when we could not gather.
Nations, like people, are defined by what they stand for, and whom they stand with. Today I see a nation that the United States is proud to call an Ally and friend. Thank you for standing with us and know that we will stand alongside Romania as it continues to realize its rightful place as a leading European nation.
As we Allies and likeminded nations emerge from the pandemic bruised but unbowed and look forward to the future that is ours to shape, it is paramount that we also take stock of the past. Ten years ago, together, we penned the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century Between the United States of America and Romania. This Declaration recognized our mutual commitment to democratic values, our bonds of friendship, our security, and our shared vision of the necessity of open markets and open exchange. The Strategic Partnership envisioned Romania’s future, but it was many of you gathered here today who turned that potential into reality for your people and your nation.
Both our nations have seen many changes over the past decade—but the visions and promises embodied in the Strategic Partnership remain. I would be remiss were I not to mention immediately that Romania bravely and thoroughly fulfilled the Partnership Declaration of mutual security guarantees. The final contingent of Romanian forces just returned home from Afghanistan and we owe them a debt of gratitude we can never fully pay.
Our partnership helped bring peace and protected the vulnerable from the forces who would prey upon them. Romania’s tireless efforts to improve its interoperability and cooperation with NATO Allies, and its commitment to modernizing its forces and incorporating the best defense capabilities available allow us all to breathe easier.
Ensuring peace, a full economic recovery, and a healthy population is inextricably linked to sound market economies. In the Declaration signed ten years ago, we mutually pledged that open trade and investment were the way forward, and we were right. I ask you to take an honest, hard look at where Romania stands today, and I truly believe you will see a country on the cusp of incredible achievement and advancement. As an Ally it is amazing to see what you have collectively achieved for the Romanian people.
President Kennedy famously said that “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” Romania is grounded in its past and actively shaping its future…our future. The steps you have taken have made American companies recognize the incredible combination of talent and education Romania has to offer and they have seen just how strong the synergy is between American and Romanian expertise. From Bit Defender and UiPath’s operations in the U.S. as market leaders, to Amazon and Ford’s operations here in Romania, our nations’ leading companies are putting people to work in meaningful jobs and redefining international commerce. As just one example, Ford Romania is on the path to rolling fully electric vehicles out of its Craiova plant within three years. This is incredible and speaks of the foresight of our efforts a decade ago.
We are working together on many fronts to ensure that our nations and people derive real and lasting benefit from the newest technologies. The systems that will be included in the project at Cernavoda will be, we believe, the latest in technology. This will be yet another benchmark established in Romania, in a crucial sector that is key to Romania’s energy independence and autonomy. But it should not stop there; let us continue to work together to ensure the path to further development remains open to us.
Romania is well-placed and well on the road to becoming a key player in the pan-European technology, innovation, and energy sectors. This would not be possible if Romanian leadership had not honored its obligations over the past few years and worked to foster an environment friendly to business, whether in the technology sector or elsewhere. The Craiova-Pitesti Highway project is just one example of how strong Ministry oversight and adept stewardship of public funds can quickly and tangibly provide real benefits.
Clearly, very much has been accomplished in the decade since the signing of the Strategic Partnership. There is, however, always more to do. We all know that nothing wilts faster than laurels rested upon. A decade from now, I hope we can again look back and say we have seen Romania move even further forward, leading the pack in the region and across Europe.
The United States sincerely believe that for Romania to assume its rightful place at the table of European leadership, future development must be dominated by adherence to transparency and the rule of law. Just one month ago, President Biden stated that countering corruption is a core element of United States national security policy and that corruption threatens not just our security but also our development efforts, and even democracy itself. Romania has shown the strength and willingness to fight corruption, and continued dedication to the rule of law will help eradicate its last vestiges which haunt this nation. We are proud to have assisted Romania in promoting the rule of law, and we continue to stand beside you in this effort.
The future belongs to those willing to foster businesses—small and multinational alike—through infrastructure investment and transparency. America is open for business, and from back-office services, to auto manufacturing, to film production, we want to do that business here with you. I encourage Romania to act boldly to enable even more investment. The need for us to do so is as strong now as it was in 2011. Enduring commitment to the rule of law and a predictable legal framework will help make this opportunity a reality.
In mentioning transparency, I would be remiss if I did not laud Romania for its efforts to increase it in other areas included in our Strategic Partnership. I am speaking of human rights, which we all know are inextricably interwoven with rule of law and good governance. Romania’s strong stance in this area makes it a leader. Your stance on matters in Belarus spoke volumes and is only the most recent of many times when Romania stood for the values of the democratic world. We have wearied of unfailingly malign actors and their bullying, corruption, and propaganda. We will move forward together shaping the future of our nations and peoples, and those nations that prey upon their people and their neighbors and seek only to sow discord belong to past decades. Thank you, Romania, for your clear-eyed perspective and for the steps you took to protect your country’s emergent 5G infrastructure from untrusted foreign control, and for making the job of malign influencers and propagandists all the more difficult.
It has been an amazing ten years…an amazing 141, actually. Thank you all for what you have accomplished as our strategic partners. It is an honor to represent the United States in a nation that has so honored its commitments and with whom we share so much.
In closing, thank you all again for joining us here this afternoon. I would like to take a moment to recognize our Embassy team, all of whom worked so hard to make this event possible. Thank you very much.
God bless you all, Happy Independence Day.