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2nd Vice Minister's Congratulatory Remarks on the Occasion of the Reception for the Closing Ceremony of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Seoul, June 26, 2019

  • Date : 2019-07-03 09:21:38
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Congratulatory Remarks by H.E. Amb. Lee Taeho,
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
On the Occasion of the Reception for the Closing Ceremony
of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
Seoul, June 26, 2019

Your Excellency Mihai Ciompec, Ambassador of Romania,
Distinguished members of the diplomatic corps in Korea,
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Evening!

I am delighted to be here with all of you on this auspicious occasion of the successful conclusion of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. I would like to thank you, Ambassador Ciompec, for your kind invitation to this wonderful gathering and extend my heartfelt congratulations on the achievements Romania has made over the past 6 months.

It is my understanding that assuming the Presidency of the Council of the European Union was the first for Romania since it joined the EU in 2007. This Presidency took place during a particularly dynamic period of the European Union, with the EU facing on-going Brexit negotiations, debate regarding the Multi-annual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, the ever-present migration issue, and the elections for the European Parliament in May.

Undaunted, Romania launched its EU Presidency this January under the motto of "Cohesion as a Common European Value” with the purpose of making Europe more united and stronger. During the six-month term of the Presidency, Romania showed tireless leadership in coordinating a countless number of intense discussions, in fact, 1760 meetings according to what we heard just a moment ago from Ambassador Ciompec, on a wide range of political, economic, cultural and global issues.

The culmination of these diplomatic efforts was the informal summit held in Sibiu, on May 9 of this year, where the leaders of the European Union discussed their common future and adopted the Sibiu Declaration specifying 10 commitments to make the EU stronger.  I applaud Romania’s successful and fruitful completion of its first ever EU Presidency.

In addition, I should not forget to mention that during the period of Romania’s Presidency, the strategic partnership between Korea and the EU based on our shared value of democracy, market economy, and human rights has become stronger.

In the political field, the two sides have seen more frequent high-level exchanges, including the Korea-EU Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in February on the margins of the 2019 Munich Security Conference and the 5th Korea-EU High-Level Political Dialogue held in Seoul in February of this year.

Over the past 6 months, the EU has steadfastly rendered its strong support to Korea’s efforts toward complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula while Korea and the EU maintained close coordination on this issue. In particular, the EU’s policy of ‘critical engagement’ is closely in line with my government’s North Korea policy and has contributed greatly to our current effort to keep North Korea at the dialogue table. As a robust partner of Korea, the EU’s continued and solid support for the peace process on the Korean Peninsula remain valuable, and I look forward to close policy coordination with the EU on the North Korean issue. 

I would also like to note some recent progress on bilateral economic relations. Building on the outcomes of the Korea-EU Summit in 2018, the 1st Policy Dialogue on SMEs was held in Seoul in February 2019.  I greatly value this meeting as it aims to help SMEs to make inroads into Korean and European markets and create quality jobs. I also welcome our common efforts to initiate the High Level Policy Dialogue on ICT and Digital Economy. Further, Korea and the EU have worked together to promote cross-border safe data transfers in the context of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Finland will take the next Presidency of the EU Council from July 1st.  Going further from the achievements during the Romanian Presidency, Finland will show another remarkable leadership that will help the EU to overcome the difficulties it currently faces, and further advance integration through dialogue and cooperation.

Before I conclude, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge with great appreciation the current state of Korea’s Strategic Partnership with Romania, which was established in 2008. The Foreign Ministers’ meeting held in Seoul last November on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of our Strategic Partnership provided a new impetus for the continued strengthening of our bilateral cooperation.  Next year, we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Romania. All these milestones will create a renewed momentum to upgrade our relations to a higher level in the years to come. 

Offering, once again, my sincere congratulations on Romania’s successful completion of the Presidency of the EU, and reiterating my appreciation for the strong state of the Korea-EU and Korea-Romania Strategic Partnerships, I pray for the enduring prosperity and bright future of Romania and the European Union and our everlasting friendship. Thank you very much! /end/