Pope in Romania/Pope: Despite many difficulties, Romania has taken many steps forward in democratic project

Pope Francis said at Cotroceni Palace on Friday that, despite numerous difficulties and shortcomings, Romania has taken many steps in the past 30 years in the democratic project it has committed itself to. "I am glad to be in your beautiful country, 20 years after the visit of St. John Paul II, when Romania, for the first time since joining the European Union, is holding the EU Council presidency this half year. This is an opportune time for an overview of the 30 years since Romania liberated itself from a regime that impeded civil and religious liberty and isolated it from the other European countries and that, in addition, led to the stagnation of the economy and to the exhaustion of its creative forces. In time, Romania has embarked on a democratic project through a plurality of political and social forces and through dialogue among them, aiming at the essential recognition of religious freedom and the full integration of the country with a wider international context. It is important to recognise that, despite the many difficulties and shortcomings, Romania has taken many steps forward on this path," Pope Francis said at a meeting with the state officials, leaders of the civil society and the diplomatic corps, at the Union Hall of the Cotroceni Presidential Palace in Bucharest. AGERPRES (RO - author: Irinela Visan, editor: Claudia Stanescu; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurleian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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