Romania, My Country
His Highness Prince Radu
|“Esse Est Percipi”
“To Be Is To Be Perceived”
At the turn of the 20th Century the world entered a historic stage of unprecedented changes and fluctuations. The instantaneous circulation of information, the fluidisation of borders, the re-valuation of the concepts of “time” and “space” have, at the beginning of the third millennium, drawn us into such an accelerated process of evolution that the possibility to control it has reduced. The transformation of the international system, international politics and shaping of a new world find people reticent about change.
Europe itself is in a phase of redefinition. If the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 laid the foundation of states of Europe, the last decades have brought about a European construction which attempts to radically transform our continent, fighting against the risks of sterile nationalism, isolationism and extremism, which can be the cause of social or political tensions. The New Europe wishes to define itself less in terms of geography and tribe and more on the basis of notions such as liberty, diversity and tolerance.
Involved in two processes, namely European and Euro-Atlantic integration, Romania has stepped into the 21st Century determined to embrace the values of Europe which is trying to harmonise itself politically, economically and socially. Jean Monnet, one of the architects of today’s Europe, said that if he were to rebuild Europe, he would start with culture, not economy. The message that Jean Monnet wants to convey is that of Europe which is intimately bonded, Europe represents nowadays a well-defined framework which can be deepened and strengthened, through contribution of every member, be it a confirmed or an aspiring one.
The invitation Romania has received to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the setting of 1 January 2007, for the accession to the European Union (EU) represent two significant successes which open up a new perspective for approaching Romania’s foreign relations and for sharing of European and Euro-Atlantic values by the Romanians. The initiative to set up the Office of the Special Representative of the Romanian Government testifies to the gaining of a remarkable maturity, and abandonment of hasty solutions in favour of a political vision which anticipates future European developments.
Romania cannot behave as just another aspiring country, but must take daring initiatives, in the context of the new status acquired in Prague and Copenhagen. A project such as the Office of the Special Representative of the Romanian Government confirms Romania as part of the construction of Europe of the Third Millennium. The concept includes notions such as integration, co-operation and sustainable development. It denotes a holistic approach, an understanding of contemporary problems, a long-term interdisciplinary perspective focused on the essence of the European construction of the Century which has just begun.
In the context of the redefinition of the European Continent, the republic and the Romanian Royal Family must overcome the moment of incompatibility which characterised their relationship and demonstrate that this is not a question of two alternatives, but a joint effort and co-participation. Romania is a republic and the act of inviting the Royal Family to participate in such a project denotes political stability.
We have a tradition of monarchy. The major problem of the monarchical tradition was the fragmentation, delay, exile or overshadowing it suffered throughout its history. The alternatives were imposed from outside, influenced by the geo-political context which set Romania on different institutional courses.
Throughout the Middle Ages in Romania, royal figures were in the middle of regional and European realities. They entertained alliances and a prolific correspondence with other royal families, in a joint pro-European effort in what Oscar Halecki called “the anti-crusade of the Islam” (the Ottoman aggression in Europe after 1370). Mihai Viteazul had a sustained correspondence with Spain and Venice, while Stefan cel Mare was in close touch with the Italian republics, Poland and Russia. In an enlightened effort, Dimitrie Cantemir crowned the musings of generations of scholars, by speaking of Europe in his writings, in an attempt to connect it to Europe.
However, the tradition of monarchy did not enjoy a favourable process of institutional stabilisation, being dislocated by the institutional surrogates imposed by the Ottoman Empire (the Phanar/Fanar) or the arrangements made by Russia and enforced through the Organic Regulations, a brutal aesthetic operation upon a territory which could not regain its identity, caught as it was in an area of massive geo-strategic developments (Russia versus the Ottoman Empire, the eastward propensity of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and so on).
The post-1848 years demanded a solution to the Romanian national problem, relating to the great figures of Romanian monarchs. It was in 1866 that this role was assumed by the Royal House of Romania, founded by a foreign prince, who set up the European connection by means of his family, his authority, prestige, neutrality, respect and “royal professionalism” (Carol the First is the first Romanian head of state who is linked to the modern idea of professionalism of the head of state, that is the skill of using his prerogatives as head of state). The following decades were to witness the regaining of independence, the reunification of the Great Romania, a new constitution and an accelerated process of modernisation of Romania.
The process enforced by communism after 1945 meant the exile not only of the members of the Royal Family, but of a rediscovered historical tradition. Communism fabricated an artificial historicism, in which the Royal Family was denied its role as preserver of tradition. This role was taken over by a leader and by the communist party, who placed themselves at the forefront, as self-legitimised successors to the Romanian historical destiny. The rediscovery means the relinking of a contested and disadvantaged constancy.
One of the results of this comeback, the Office of the Special Representative of the Romanian Government, is a success because it represents the reactivation of support and promotion of Romania’s national interests in an institutionalised way adjusted to the current agenda. National interest means not only self-preservation, culture, language and national security, but also economic welfare, political stability and prestige. In its activities, the Office of the Special Representative of the Romanian Government assumes an attitude in which prestige is identified as an important component. By endorsing Romanian values, by underlining the fact that “we are Europeans” and not that “we want to accede to Europe”, by trying to identify the ways in which to promote indigenous values in the European space, the Office fulfils a complex task.
The efforts of the Office of the Special Representative of the Romanian Government follow the direction of the saying – “esse est percipi” (to be is to be acknowledged) – in a Europe in which the lack of communication and of precise evaluation seems to be one of the main difficulties. America had existed for centuries and had built a flourishing civilisation before Europe even found out about its geographical existence. To be is to be acknowledged. Similarly, Romania is a European country fighting to overcome the gap caused by the communist isolation, and there are still Western Europeans who may ask you, whenever you pay them a visit, questions such as: “Are there colour TVs and refrigerators in Romania? Is there cable television?”. Our effort is one of representation and promotion. Not only do we have a bad image in some parts of Europe but, in most of them, our image is almost non-existent. Acknowledgement and prestige are components of the national interest, which is the focus of the Office of the Special Representative of the Romanian Government.
The Office of the Special Representative of the Romanian Government is present both in Romania and abroad with a message of co-operation and sustainable development of relations among different regions of Europe and of the world. The main levels of the activities of the office are: the political (central and local authorities), the economic, investment and finances, culture and education, the level of European and Euro-Atlantic integration and the environmental issues. The Special Representative of the Romanian Government is trying to join together elements from the regions of our country with corresponding European spaces, thereby confirming the fact that tomorrow’s Europe is a Europe of regions (places where the substance of stability and durability will grow).
The actions of the Office of the Special Representative will go beyond the borders of Europe and the NATO objectives. The main rationale of this undertaking has to do with the identity. The rebuilding of identity means not only self-perception or the image of the other, but also a good understanding of the reality of the other. Jean Baptiste Duroselle, has written about Europe, that the discrepancy between the West and the East is due, among other things, to the openness evinced by the West towards the rest of the world, and this is the main advantage.
For the past 50 years, the Romanians, as well as all East Europeans have had a stronger sense of European identity than the Westerners, because, they have clung to it in order to survive and to fight for freedom. The new forces adding to the European construction are signs of long-term contribution. The Europeans of the 21st Century, who understand the usefulness of the continental project, must overcome their frustrations and realise that their loyalty will focus in the future both on the land of their ancestors with its inestimable values and on the New Europe.
The Office of the Special Representative of the Romanian Government has all the necessary co-ordinates to participate in the construction of tomorrow’s Europe: imagination, creativity, responsibility, an attitude based on personal involvement, determination and perseverance and the symbol called “family”. A historical family, unconstrained by political interests, which is participating in the construction of a New Europe and in the strengthening of the European family.
After five months of public engagements, we can discern the following advantages of the official position as a Special Representative of the Romanian Government:-
In the context in which countries, political institutions and forms of government will look different in a united Europe in a few years, a member of the Royal Family can represent for Romania, a link between the regions of the old continent, being an element which transcends political transformations or electoral cycles, which adapts and brings its best abilities to an effort without precedent in the history of Europe.
His Highness Prince Radu of Hohenzollern-Veringen is a Special Representative of the Romanian Government for Integration, Cooperation and Sustainable Development.
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