On December 19, 2022, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola addressed a joint session of the Romanian Parliament to share a message of solidarity with Bucharest. PSD President Marcel Ciolacu addressed the gathering, thanking President Metsola for her support of Romania and the Romanian people.
Honorable Madam President of the European Parliament,
Honorable Madam President of the Senate,
Honorable Mr. Prime Minister,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors,
I thank European Parliament President Roberta Metsola for the strong message of solidarity and unity conveyed to the Romanian people in the joint session of the Romanian House and Senate.
We are at the end of a year that will surely be marked in the history books of modern Europe. In February, Russia invaded Ukraine and created the biggest security crisis of our generation. The threat to democratic values and one’s own way of life were things that until then could not be borne in mind.
In these new circumstances, as a state, we had to face many logistical and economic challenges. And now, as winter deepens, we are concerned about the high costs of energy facing our citizens, industry, and businesses.
However, 2022 is also a year of hope and humanity. It is the year when European citizens stood out through an extraordinary solidarity with Ukrainians – including so many mothers with children fleeing the war.
It is also the year in which countries such as the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia came closer than ever to the great European family.
For Romania, 2022 is the year in which the Verification and Cooperation Mechanism was lifted. All objectives were properly met, and the European Commission’s November report shows without any doubt that the rule of law presents the necessary safety guarantees in Romania.
After 15 years, the lifting of the VCM is a remarkable achievement for which I want to congratulate everyone involved and thank them for their efforts.
Honorable Madam President Metsola,
You are one of the people who know best what it takes to fight for justice. You were one of the strong voices that stood up against injustice when one of your compatriots was murdered in cold blood. In a deeply symbolic gesture, you categorically refused to shake hands with injustice, corruption, and lies. You fought a rotten system because you believed it was a just cause. Ultimately, you fought for truth and justice. And that gave you the strength to fight to the end!
That is why, Madam President, I think you understand very well the struggle of the Romanian people for justice. And today justice for us means joining the Schengen area, alongside our brothers and sisters in Europe.
And I am thankful that we are not fighting this fight by ourselves. We have with us the European Parliament, the European Commission and the majority of European states and governments. We have with us strong allies who have delivered a firm message of support for Romania and for its place in Europe.
Unfortunately, the right-wing Austrian government has arbitrarily and unjustifiably chosen to ignore the work and hopes of millions of Romanians. I am convinced that before building unnecessary fences or walls in this part of Europe, the Austrian Chancellor must break down his own walls of cynicism and defiance with which he has surrounded himself during this period. He irrationally closed doors to loyal friends when the only door he needed to close was to the oppression, tyranny, and death that is descending toward Europe from the Kremlin.
Unlike others who are still wavering, Romania has definitively come out from behind the Iron Curtain 33 years ago. We healed the wounds of harsh years of communist repression and rose as a proud and strong nation. Together – state and society- we did everything necessary to be prepared to take our well-deserved place at the table of European leaders.
That is why our request to be members of the Schengen area is perfectly legitimate. And, when I say this, I do not rely on the bright road that lies before us, but on the long road that we have already travelled behind.
Joining NATO and the European Union were essential steps that profoundly transformed the state and society so that today we can fully define ourselves as a free, democratic, and Western nation.
That is why we must be incorporated into the Schengen area. It is well known and accepted that we have been meeting the technical conditions since 2011. This was simply a failed political act that must never recur.
We must make this commitment in front of our citizens, in front of those who spend days in long customs queues, in front of all those who have something to lose because Romania is not yet in Schengen. We have an obligation to carry this fight to the end!
Ladies and gentlemen,
We must not abandon hope. We have already earned the respect of our European partners by our actions at the front line of defending European security and unity.
This failure cannot be decisive. But this failure must teach those who will be in charge to win next time.
And I think that you, Madam President Metsola, are an incredible source of inspiration for us. You were elected to the European Parliament in 2013, after two unsuccessful attempts. Two! But you would never give up, because a fighter can never give up on their dream. And, as we speak, by example you provide the proof that politics can still be done by consensus and that you can unite such different political beliefs for the common public good. This success story should give us courage to move forward.
We have chosen to be fair partners, as the whole of Europe has done since February, but here is a vote that blew up all this balance, so hard won and so precious, of European unity.
However, we will continue to do our duty as before as guarantors of the security of European borders. We will continue to receive and help our neighbors fleeing the war. We will continue to provide solutions to the food crisis that threatens not only Europe, but also countries in Africa. We will continue to support the Republic of Moldova at a time when so many crises threaten it.
In short: Romania will continue to be part of the European solution!
But, at the same time, together with our partners, we will be even more determined to reverse the result of this unfair vote. The arguments are on our side. Justice is on our side. Europe is on our side! And I think that in building this new plan we must start from the friends we have: the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European governments.
I am convinced that we have you as a reliable partner. You know our region very well. You, personally, travelled this year to the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, and now you are in Romania.
Today, in the Romanian Parliament, we, together, project a strong message of European unity and solidarity. Romania fully wants to support the consolidation of the European project. And I am convinced that the EU also understands that only when Romania is in Schengen, will Europe be fully united!