Monseigneur Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,
My first duty tonight is to offer thanks to you all in the Diplomatic Corps, for a full year of your activity in Romania, and for all the work you put into improving relations between the countries you represent and my own nation.
I know it is fashionable to say that, in this age of instant communication when ministers and heads of governments talk to each other on the ‘phone almost daily and attend summits so frequently, embassies may no longer be required. But this is certainly a myth. For although the functions and duties of embassies have clearly changed and will continue to evolve, there is no substitute for the knowledge that is required in dealing with a country and for the personal links and relations that need to be established between nations, all of which embassies create and cultivate every single day. I have met most of you personally, and had the privilege of following your activities. I know how complex the work is, and how essential it remains. So, after a year of hard work, here is a modest “Mulțumesc” from all of us in Romania. We are grateful for your support, and your friendship, and – most importantly – for your belief in the importance of the bilateral relationship between my country and yours.
Apostolic Nuncio, Ministers, Ambassadors,
My father, The King, used to preside at such receptions in precisely this room, but in very different circumstances. For Romania’s conditions at that time were grim; we were either faced with the dominance of Nazism and Fascism or the dominance of Stalin’s Soviet Union. I regret that the King cannot be with us tonight, but I know that he will be the first to praise the fact that Romania today is in an incomparably better position. We are a member of the European Union, and of the North Atlantic Alliance, a network of organisations that make a new division into spheres of influence in Europe absolutely impossible, and therefore not only underpin our stability today, but also ensure our security and prosperity into the future.
In the name of the Royal Family, I would like to tell our partners and allies in the European Union and in NATO directly: Romanians understand and value the enormous contributions that both these organisations make to our country. We all know that our membership in these two organisations provides us with huge advantages but also means huge obligations that we respect. In NATO, Romania is already an exporter, not just a consumer of security. And in the European Union, our political leadership will do everything possible to uphold our unity of purpose; whatever disagreements we may have, I know that our country will never threaten the unity of the European Union.
As much as our political leaders, we also are worried by the idea, now gaining strength in some European capitals, that the new member-states of the EU are somehow different from the rest, that they lack a so-called European vocation. Of course, I cannot speak for other nations, but I do know that these assertions are simply untrue. All of us who used to be ruled by the Soviet Union are fully aware of the fact that, if Europe is disunited, we all lose. We know that unity can only come about if we compromise. And we also know that a weak Europe carries terrible consequences for all of us. The sooner we stop talking about a supposed East-West divide in Europe the better we will be. And the sooner we tear down the real divides of poverty and poor social mobility, which still exist on our continent, the stronger we will all feel.
Apostolic Nuncio, Ministers, Ambassadors,
I believe that it is up to us, all Romanians, to shoulder the burden of a better Europe, and provide our fair share to a stable and more prosperous world. The King and the entire Royal Family have always believed that it is our duty to be an integral part of such efforts. So, let me outline tonight what my Family and I hope to achieve in the year to come.
In addition to our usual duties in the Romanian communities and our charitable commitments, we plan to contribute with our energies, alongside our State institutions, to the promotion of Romania’s image and interests globally. I am fully aware that this is not an easy task, that years of a good reputation can be erased in one ugly incident, and that no propaganda effort can make bad things look good. Like all of you, I also know that stereotyped misperceptions constructed over many decades are not easily dismantled. Nevertheless, I believe that what Romania has achieved since the fall of communism, what she has achieved in 150 years of modern statehood and the almost full century since our Great Union needs to be explained and presented better to the world. Not only because we should be justifiably proud of what has been accomplished, but mainly because a sharper, clearer and more modern image of our country is also of a direct benefit to our own citizens, many of whom work and live outside our borders. During our travels, speeches and many other activities, we wish to emphasise the profoundly European roots of our country and society and our enduring contribution to our continent. This is a multi-disciplinary, multi-religious and multi-ethnic contribution, one which enriches the continent and one which is enriched by it, one which is not frozen in the past, but in many respects enjoys a renaissance today, as millions of our citizens take up residence in other countries, many – I hope – for only a short period of time.
Nor do I believe that our Family’s effort is a purely nationalist enterprise. For what we plan to do will, I hope, also highlight just how interconnected the so-called Western Europe is with the so-called East. We are together now because we were always together; it was only the cruel twists of history that temporarily set us apart. Nor does this effort need to be exclusively European. Just as our political leadership strives to do constantly, we must also emphasize the essential role of the two great North American nations in our trans-Atlantic Alliance, as well as why we should stay united.
As the Royal Family embarks on a new year of duties in the interest of our nation, we hope to be able to rely on your shrewd advice and support. But above everything, we rely on the trust and goodwill of all Romanians.
Throughout my life, the shining beacon of everything I did was my father; whenever I wondered which direction to take, I only had to look at that beacon and get the right answer. His Majesty’s health may be fading. But tonight, I give all Romanians a pledge that his beacon, that beacon of a righteous and just Romania, will never be dimmed.
I wish you a fruitful and peaceful New Year!