Visiting Slovakian Foreign Minister expresses support for Romania's Schengen, OECD accession

Slovakian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Ivan Korcok, currently on a visit to Bucharest, expressed support for Romania's accession to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Schengen Area, noting that this should already have happened. I affirmed Slovakia's support for Romania's joining the Schengen Area. I think this should have already happened and we should agree on Romania's Schengen entry. And secondly: we support Romania's OECD membership, Foreign Minister Korcok said in a press statement at the premises of the Romanian Foreign Ministry. Ivan Korcok thanked for the support provided to the Slovak minority in Romania, stating that the government in Bucharest is "a positive example for many in this region" as regards the promotion of cultural identity. The Slovakian ForMin stressed that bilateral relations are "excellent" and that Romania enjoys a "very good reputation" in Slovakia, as Romanian troops contributed to the country's liberation in World War II. In 1968, which is a dark part of our lives, Romania did not participate with troops in that invasion and we thank you very much for that, he said. Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu expressed his conviction that trade exchanges and mutual investments will increase in the next period, mentioning that bilateral exchanges hit a record high of 3.4 billion euros in 2019 and amounted last year at almost 3 billion euros, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. We discussed ways to beef up our very good bilateral cooperation at sectoral level in the fields of education, employment, social affairs, home affairs, defense. I am convinced that we will further be able to find new opportunities for development and common projects. I am also pleased to note that the protection offered by Romania to the members of national minorities, including the Slovak minority in Romania, reflects in the very good integration of ethnic Slovaks into Romanian society, as this minority that represents a true bridge between our states. At the same time, I welcome the very good integration of the Romanian citizens who live in Slovakia, Aurescu said. The Romanian top diplomat added that bilateral talks have highlighted the importance of the Three Seas Initiative. It is a very important regional platform in which both states participate and where Romania is interested in promoting strategic interconnection projects. For example, the Constanta - Gdansk Rail 2 Sea railway project or the Via Carpatia highway connection project, which involve both states, Romania and Slovakia, he pointed out. According to Aurescu, the Conference on the Future of Europe represents "a very good opportunity to make the most of the lessons learned during the pandemic crisis" and to hold applied debates with the citizens. He also said that Romania and Slovakia support the EU enlargement process. Both Romania and Slovakia support the Western Balkan countries, they support the EU enlargement process, the European perspective of the Western Balkans, which is actually the only solid option for peace, stability, and prosperity in the long term in the region and on the continent. I also mentioned the challenges in the Eastern Neighborhood, especially those related to the Republic of Moldova, and emphasized Romania's support for the democratic and pro-European reform efforts of the new President of the Republic of Moldova, said Aurescu. The ForMin also stressed that Romania and Slovakia endorse a strong transatlantic relationship. Romania and Slovakia support a strong, solid transatlantic relationship, especially in the current context of the new administration in Washington, which wants not only to repair those aspects that have been damaged in recent years, but also to strengthen, to reinforce and deepen the transatlantic relationship, because - as we have said it many times - we have a shared community of values and security on both sides of the Atlantic, which is extremely important for our security and prosperity, Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu pointed out. AGERPRES (RO - author: Irinela Visan, editor: Claudia St─ânescu; EN - editor: Simona Klodnischi)

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