2 Apr. 2004
H.E. Mircea Geoana, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania
Mr. Secretary General,
This is truly a historic moment: for us, the seven new members of NATO, but also for the entire Euro-Atlantic community. Our accession to NATO is part of the reunification of Europe that began in 1989, with the collapse of the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, and continued with NATO membership of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999 and with ten new EU members on May 1. At this moment of jubilation, I would like to recognize the Romanian defense minister Ioan Mircea Pascu and through him, to send a message of gratitude to the many men and women in uniform already serving under the NATO flag in so many trouble spots around the world.
This is a new major victory for those who suffered from the tyrannies of Nazism and communism. It is a new triumph of peace and freedom in Europe. NATO is not enlarging against any nation. The Euro-Atlantic community is enlarging for the principles of democracy, liberty, justice and security. Amidst the uncertainties and difficult problems that confront us today, such as terrorism, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Middle East, this is a moment of joy, certitude, and hope.
My country made a fundamental choice in December 1989: to live in democracy and freedom and to build a market economy under the rule of law. The Western integration of Romania enjoys enormous popular and across the board political support in my country. We made a strategic decision to join NATO and the EU and undertook a long reform process to transform our country. Today is just the start of a renewed bold effort to make Romania a credible and robust NATO ally and EU member.
Romanians all over the world are rejoicing. From Second World War veterans to the generation that listened to Radio Free Europe huddled in basements, to our youths for whom we have built and will continue to build a better future, Romanian rejoice in the benefits of freedom. NATO membership is a milestone of Romania’s evolution, an accomplishment as decisive for our future as were our independence in 1877 and our Great Union in 1918. It is an achievement of the longstanding dream of Romanians after the Second World War: to reclaim our Western identity by rejoining the Euro-Atlantic family of democratic nations.
For that, we thank the United States and Canada and we thank all our friends in Europe. Both sides of the Atlantic have joined arms for a historic enlargement of freedom and security from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
L’OTAN est une alliance des valeurs démocratiques et solidarité. Elle représente l’expression la plus forte de la relation transatlantique, construite sur les même valeurs et objectives communs. Les 55 dernières années ont prouvé l’importance cruciale de la relation transatlantique pour la stabilité et la prospérité des démocraties appartenant à cette Alliance. Aujourd’hui, quand des nouveaux risques menacent la sécurité de chacun d’entre nous et de nous tous, la solidarité transatlantique este plus importante que jamais. Défense collective, cohésion, relation transatlantique : la Roumanie partage pleinement ces principes et nous sommes prêts à les renforcer.
NATO had the wisdom and will to adapt to a security alliance, with new missions, new capabilities, new members and new partnerships to face the ever growing challenges of the post-Cold War security environment. We can no longer defend ourselves only from the inside of our territories. That is why our Alliance is not only out of area, but is also acting vigorously out of the continent. We are defending ourselves by building security in Afghanistan, providing support for allies involved in stabilizing Iraq and discussing openly about cooperation with the countries in the Greater Middle East.
My country is a proud new member of this Alliance. And we will be equal to the tasks of NATO membership.
As a NATO member, Romania has both the moral obligation and a strategic interest in the continuation of Europe’s reunification process - in the Western Balkans and across the Black Sea, in the Caucasus and Central Asia, as well as to the East, to the Republic of Moldova, to Ukraine and indeed Belarus. Through the Partnership for Peace, and in concert with the UN, EU and the OSCE, Romania will lend its own experience of transformation and will be a voice for Euro-Atlantic and European vision and action towards these countries.
Romania is a European country with a Trans-Atlantic vocation. We believe in a solid and effective NATO, a strong EU with enhanced and complementary military and security roles, and in a dynamic and robust Trans-Atlantic partnership. We believe these goals are complementary not contradictory, and we pledge our support to all three.
We end one journey and we begin a new one. Our journey to NATO is over as Romania is now a new proud member of the Alliance. Our journey with NATO begins, by building for the success and strength of the Alliance at the Summit in Istanbul. We look forward to our journey with NATO, to promote and protect our shared values of security, freedom and democracy to the frontiers of Europe -- and beyond.