National Day Message: 98th anniversary of Romania’s Great Union
Ambassador of Romania Dan Mihalache writes on the 98th anniversary of the Great Union
On 1 December Romanians living all over the world, including those in the UK, will celebrate their national day. This year marks the 98th anniversary of the Great Union of 1918, and the birthday of the Romanian modern state. The historical Great Union of all Romanian territories – made possible through the will of the Romanian people – is now celebrated as a milestone of our long lasting aspirations for liberty, unity and national dignity. Indeed, we already look forward to 1 December 2018, the centennial anniversary of our national day.
This year, we celebrate not only our national day, but also 100 years since Romania joined forces with Great Britain and other allies and entered the Great War. At a tragic price, paid in human sacrifices and great material losses, we won the right to sit at the peace table, and international recognition of the Union of the Old Romanian Kingdom with the Romanian provinces of Transylvania, Banat, Bukovina and Bessarabia.
Romania’s decision to enter the war was triggered by the community of interests with the Triple Entente, and encouraged by close ties between the Romanian and British royal dynasties. These links were embodied by Queen Mary of Romania, the proud granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
The international community now faces major challenges and provocations. As a member of the European and Euro-Atlantic family, Romania is actively assuming its obligations and responsibilities in dealing with the increasingly complex and dynamic issues of the current international landscape. On the 8 March 2016, Romania took over the chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), demonstrating its strong commitment to assuming its own past, honouring the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and combating xenophobic and anti-Semitic behaviour.
Romania will hold the rotating Presidency of the European Union in the first semester of 2019, a period that is likely to coincide with the end of negotiations surrounding the UK’s EU membership. Romanian diplomacy will fulfil its mandate at the helm of the EU with the view of making the Brexit process mutually beneficial for both the UK and the remaining Union, while also safeguarding the rights of Romanian citizens already living in and contributing to the general prosperity of Great Britain.
It is also in our mutual best interest to strengthen our future bilateral relations not only in economic, commercial, financial and investment fields, but also in terms of security, counterterrorism, cybersecurity and police cooperation. Romania and the UK remain strong and valuable allies within NATO, both committed to meeting their obligations within a stronger alliance of free nations.
People-to-people relations, tourism and stronger cultural links (especially in sport), are also high on the common agenda between Romania and Great Britain. These objectives will be facilitated by the recent nomination of Timişoara, (the cradle of the Romanian freedom revolution in 1989), as a future Cultural Capital of Europe, recognising the new open, multicultural, tolerant and artistically and intellectually creative Romania that exists today.