INTERVIEW France's Ambassador Michele Ramis: Romania, essential role in securing borders, fight against terrorism

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France's Ambassador to Romania Michele Ramis underscores in an interview to AGERPRES Romania's essential role in securing borders, in the fight against terrorism, cyber crime and various forms of trafficking affecting Europe.

In the justice area, Ambassador Michele Ramis shows that Romania has made significant progresses and these must be kept, particularly in the context in which Romania will ensure the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first semester of 2019, a position that France will support so that it should be a success.

An objective of her mandate is implementing the Romania — France Strategic Partnership, initiated in 2008. She wants this collaboration to also have effects on the consolidation of the community project, in regards to which Paris endorses the idea of a more protective Europe, mainly on a social level, meant to promote the access of young people to jobs and rural development. The argument which Ambassador Michele Ramis presents is that, in this respect, Europe's cohesion is the condition of a stronger integration.

Michele Ramis is the 25th ambassador of France to Romania and the first woman to have held this position. She believes the presence of women in diplomacy has changed the working methods, because they have a vital contribution to solving crises, as their approach is different and complementary to that of men, combining firmness and the conciliating spirit.

The arrival to Romania has been marked by positive feelings, Ambassador Michele Ramis confesses, who voices herself impressed with the warm welcome, the power of Francophony, which makes her activity easier and facilitates learning the Romanian language, the beauty of the traditions, mentioning, in this respect, the art and history of the ia (Romanian blouse or La Blouse Roumaine — editor's note).

AGERPRES: Upon the presentation of the letter of credence you discussed with President Klaus Iohannis and Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu about the Romania — France "excellent bilateral relation." What are the essential areas of the Romania — France collaboration that you will approach in your term in office, what novelty do you wish to bring?

Michele Ramis: The relations between France and Romania are exceptional. The historic profoundness and the constant nature of these relations, our great convergence of opinions, our cultural closeness and the force of Francophony in Romania have weaved solid ties between our nations and between the two people, which allow us understand each other and work together to deal with common challenges.

On a bilateral level, my objective is to implement the Strategic Partnership which has been connecting us since 2008, in all its dimensions: strengthening our political dialogue, intensifying our cooperation in terms of security, between the defence industries, consolidating even more our economic relations — already very solid thanks to a strong presence of French companies — in areas in which there are new opportunities. We can extend our cooperation in the areas of high technologies, environmental matters and in the area of sustainable urban development. Finally, in the cultural, educational and professional training area we have huge collaboration possibilities. The season France — Romania, which will be conducted between 1 December 2018 and 14 July 2019, will be a peak moment of our relation from this point of view.

In the second place, we must cooperate to make the European construction progress. We need a Europe that protects better on a social level, that proves its added value in the area of security and the fight against terrorism, we must strengthen Europe's strategic autonomy by establishing a true European policy of common defence and security, and in this area Romania and France can make the European Union progress.

AGERPRES: President Emmanuel Macron announced a visit to Romania. Is there an approximate date?

Michele Ramis: Indeed, President Emmanuel Macron accepted President Klaus Iohannis' invitation to come to Romania, because he wants to approach important common interest topics with Romania's President. At the moment, the date of this visit is yet to be set.

AGERPRES: After the meeting with President Klaus Iohannis, Macron underscored on Twitter the need for European cohesion. Which are the long-term efforts that France is making to create this cohesion?

Michele Ramis: The cohesion policy is one of the European Union's main investments and is aimed at an intelligent, sustainable and inclusive growth in the EU. It is economic, social and territorial. It endorses the implementation of European policies in the area of education, employment, energy, transport, research and particularly innovation. It is an instrument of financial solidity and a strong economic integration engine addressed to the ensemble of EU regions and member states, aimed at increasing the attractiveness of territories and correcting the regional imbalances.

The economic and social convergence matter inside the Union is fundamental to avoid the emergence of divisions and to deal with the challenges of modern times, as well as to respond to the dysfunctions of globalisation. France supports the idea of a more protective Europe, particularly on a social level, a Europe that promotes the access of young people to jobs and rural development. Europe's cohesion is the cohesion of a deeper integration.

AGERPRES: How important is the Romania — France 2018 — 2019 Season to the bilateral relation and what you can say about the results so far of the efforts to conduct this wide event?

Michele Ramis: The France — Romania Season will be a unique opportunity to develop projects reuniting tradition, innovation and modernity and to renew the palette of our exchanges aimed at the wide public, mainly the young generation, and it will have an as wide territorial coverage as possible in our countries. In fact, I have recently paid a visit to Timisoara, the future European Capital of Culture, a city very involved in preparing this season. It will be a multi-disciplinary season that will cover areas such as arts, literature, science, the training issue, Francophony, economic cooperation, sports, gastronomy and, even more so, the digital dimension will also be included in this season. Thus, there is a wide range of areas that will lead to an unprecedented development of our bilateral relations and a new mutual approach.

AGERPRES: Romania will hold the presidency of the Council of the EU in 2019, a topic you have approached both with President Iohannis and with the Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister. Which is the expertise that France can come up with to support Romania in this respect?

Michele Ramis: France supports Romania for the first Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union to be successful. This presidency will take place in a period with important stakes for the European Union and I proposed Romania, which accepted, an ambitious partnership with the National School of Administration of France to contribute to training the high officials of the Romanian administration in charge with the European issues.

AGERPRES: Could Romania become, through the Airbus investment, one of the significant security suppliers in Europe?

Michele Ramis: Airbus and the companies in the Romanian industry have developed a close collaboration, which leads to job creation, acquiring new knowledge and export operations for Romania. This partnership comes in addition to our common efforts for consolidating European security and defence.

AGERPRES: Which do you believe is Romania's role in the area of European security? We are talking about trans-border security, cyber security.

Michele Ramis: Romania, through its geographic situation, through its competencies, through the strong support granted to the European project, has an essential role to play in securing borders, in the fight against terrorism, cyber crime and various forms of trafficking affecting Europe.

AGERPRES: Which do you believe are France's current challenges, in a European and global context?

Michele Ramis: President Macron delivered a speech at Versailles in front of Parliament on 3 July, to present his vision. In respect to the constraints regarding globalisation and the need for reforms, France's President brought to mind that the principle of reality isn't an obstacle on the path of optimism and that we have to find creative solutions. Together with our partners, we must deal with the challenges related to security, especially to prevent terrorist threats, to deal with the challenges of the labour market, competitiveness and the digital area. We must re-launch the European project, the added value of which is essential in all these areas. In respect to the fight against climate changes, France will defend the Paris Agreement, which is irreversible, and will do everything in its power to engage its partners in implementing this agreement.

AGERPRES: The fight against corruption of Romania is known and monitored abroad. How do you see the situation of rule of law in Romania?

Michele Ramis: Romania is, same as France, part of the international instruments in terms of fight against corruption: the UN Convention, the conventions of the Council of Europe. The international community has acquired in 20 years a robust architecture, consisting of an arsenal of norms and evaluation devices, in addition to the international standards of international fight against money laundering. These treaties allowed a strengthening of the rule of law, practices and attitudes. It is a gradual, but irreversible movement, targeting the entire world. So much more, in the European Union, which was built on the adhesion to the primacy of shared law and norm. Romania has made important progresses in terms of justice and it must keep them. Romania will ensure the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first semester of 2019, it is a responsibility that requires exemplariness.

AGERPRES: You have stated in a previous interview that the woman status can be an advantage. What would be, in your opinion, the advantages of being a woman in diplomacy?

Michele Ramis: In diplomacy, women have been a minority for a long time, as this job entails powerful constraints and because some topics have been regarded for a long time the preserve of men, I am particularly thinking about defence and security topics. But a minority can turn its weakness into power. In my past experiences, the fact that I am a woman helped me in the negotiations on technical or very political topics almost exclusively including men, because of the surprise related to my presence that could bring forth free expression. I believe that women in particular have a vital contribution to solving crises, as their approach can be different and complementary to that of men, combining firmness and the conciliating spirit. In their personal and family life, women are compelled to solve complex and sometimes no-solution equations, to make the impossible possible, and this gives them huge advantages in their professional life.

The French diplomacy has made many efforts to promote the role of women in leading positions and the number of women ambassadors has consistently increased. Today, the parity keeps within propriety and has registered a visible progress. Maybe, to some extent, we have lost the status of being an exception. However our presence has changed the working methods of diplomacy towards a better conciliation between the professional and the private life to the benefit of everyone, men and women.

I am the 25th ambassador of France to Romania and the first woman to have held this position. I will probably see things from a different perspective. Anyhow, I am happy to devote my enthusiasm and energy to strengthening the French — Romanian relationship.

AGERPRES: What are your first impressions of Romania?

Michele Ramis: Since my arrival, I have only had positive feelings. I was impressed with the warm welcome and the power of Francophony, which allow me to work very easy, at the same time further studying the Romanian language. I was conquered by the beauty of traditions and I had the opportunity to discover a beautiful aspect, that referring to the ia art and history, at an event organised by the Romanian Cultural Institute [ICR] and the National Museum of Art of Romania, where I had the pleasure to wear a dress designed by Liliana Turoiu, the ICR president. The music-related emotions will also come soon with the Enescu Festival, in September, which will see the participation of renowned artists, among whom a great number of French artists. Because France's ambassadors alternate, but some inclinations remain. Music contributes to peace and friendship and it will be honoured during my mandate as well. AGERPRES (RO — author: Oana Ghita, editor: Florin Marin; EN — author: Adina Panaitescu, editor: Rodica Ionita)

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