Ninety-seven years ago on 1 December 1918, weeks after Armistice Day, over 100,000 representatives of Romanians living in the provinces of Transylvania, Banat and Maramures gathered together in the ancient city of Alba Iulia, to solemnly proclaim their will to be reunited with Romanians living in the so-called Old Kingdom, ruled by King Ferdinand and Queen Mary, granddaughter of the Queen and Empress Victoria.
A few months earlier, Romanians living between the Prut and Dniester Rivers, in what is now the Republic of Moldova, as well as those from Bucovina had freely stated the same aspiration, namely to be reunited with the Motherland. Greater Romania was thus born and, for the first time in their history, Romanians from all historical territories united to live within the same borders.
The Romanian state was founded on the democratic principles of liberty, equality, democracy and human rights, all temporarily abolished during the 50 years of Communist dictatorship. 1 December is now celebrated every year as our National Day, an opportunity to reaffirm pride in our past and our confidence in our future. A future which we envisage only within the European and Euro-Atlantic family – alongside our friends and allies, the UK among them – with whom we are engaged in a firm and effective Strategic Partnership.
Strengthening the Strategic Partnership between our two countries, in economic, political, security and people-to-people terms, represents a top priority for Romania and, implicitly, the Romanian Embassy in London. This objective is based not only on the clear political will of our leaders, but also on the diligent labour of the hard working and law abiding Romanian citizens living here, in the UK.
Currently Romania is on an ascending economic path and has one of the highest rates of annual economic growth within the European Union. That is not only a statistical fact, but also a reality already reflected in the living conditions of our people. More importantly, we have enough reasons to trust that the years to come will bring the same steady economic development that will benefit both Romanian people and foreign investors.
Unfortunately, this year’s celebrations will be clouded by memories of the recent tragedy that claimed many young lives in Bucharest. During those days and weeks of mourning we found solace in the strong human solidarity demonstrated by our fellow nationals as well as by people from all corners of the world, including the UK.
Now, as we approach Romania’s National Day, allow me to wish to all Romanians, living and working here but also back home, warm congratulations, peace, good health and prosperity. Last but not the least, I extend the same wishes to all the readers and friends of the magazine.
Since the time of writing, Ambassador Motoc has been recalled and appointed as Defence Minister in the new Romanian Government.