Amb. Lazăr Comănescu (Ambassador of Romania to Germany)

19.03.2010 - Interview conducted by Allison Brown

You spoke today about building a European embassy and unifying European foreign policy.  Will this strengthen Romania’s position in the international arena, or will the larger EU countries, like Germany, overshadow Romania’s voice?  What will this do for Romania?

The necessity of setting up a European external action service derives from the need of the EU as a whole to cope with complex and difficult global issues.  Definitely, there are issues that no state in the world, large or small, would be able to solve by itself, like climate change, energy security supply, or the global financial crisis.  It’s not possible for a single country to face such complex issues.  An external service by the EU will strengthen the EU’s capability, and therefore the capabilities of each member state to face such issues.  That’s why my answer to your question is that this would not limit Romania’ capabilities to act externally, but instead upgrade our capabilities, via the European external service, to promote our interests.  By the way, being a member of the European Union means that the national interests of each of the member states has to be constructed and developed in such a way that they are also perceived as interests of the EU as a whole.  Hopefully that gives you another perspective on why the establishment of an external service of the European Union would mean that each member state would get a better chance to promote its interests.

You also spoke today about the European cultural capital programs, and a particular city in Romania, Sibiu, that was named a cultural capital.  How do programs like this help to build a positive image of Romania abroad?

The city selected for the cultural capital is one of the nicest cities in Romania: Sibiu in Romanian, or Hermannstadt in the German language. It was named a cultural capital of Europe in 2007, along with Luxembourg.  I simply want to say that if you’ve never been to Romania, please don’t hesitate to see Sibiu. You’ll see that, as I mentioned during my talk, when Romania joined the European Union, Romania did not enter solely for her own national benefit, but has also brought added value to the rest of Europe. The example of Sibiu, I’m absolutely convinced, is one of the most relevant ones in this respect.