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The Greater Union on 1 December 1918 opened the path of reforms, modernisation and development, which, however, was interrupted by the World War II and the installation of dictatorships, President Klaus Iohannis has stated on Monday in the plenary solemn meeting of Parliament dedicated to the National Day of Romania.

"30 years after the fall of communism and the recovery of our freedom, we celebrate the National Day thinking about the generations which made democratic Romania and today's Europe possible. The Greater Union of 1918 represented the expression of a nation's collective effort to turn the dream of unification into reality. The heroism of the Romanian soldiers, the Royal Family's vision, the ability of the political people, the decisive involvement of elites of the time, but, especially, the contribution of the ordinary Romanians led to the fulfilment of the union objective. The Greater Union opened the path of reforms, modernisation and development, which, however, was interrupted by World War II and the installation of dictatorships. The artisans of the Union ended in communist jails, precisely because they refused to deny their belief in free, independent and sovereign Romania. Thus, today we pay a worthy and pious tribute to all the forerunners who sacrificed themselves for the development of the Romanian nation, increasing with every generation, though had labour and blood, this work of glory, so that we and our children be able to look with full confidence toward the future," the head of state underscored.

 

Iohannis brought to mind that "many Romanians died in wars or in the darkness of the difficult years of dictatorship while defending the keystones of our European nation."

"They are the Romanians who gave up their lives on the battle fronts, in theaters of war around the world for defending Romania's interests, in communist jails or on the bloody days of December 1989. We have the duty to keep the memory of all these heroes alive and firmly pledge that we will never allow our individual rights and freedoms be breached, and their sacrifice trivialized. Freedom, equality and democracy, principles stipulated in the Resolution of the National Assembly in Alba Iulia on 1 December 1918 were at the foundation of the new state and represented, at the same time, the ideals which many died for in the communist goals and in December '89," Iohannis stated.

The President underscored that "our past is one of contrasts" and said that "on the one hand, we have remarkable moments, emblematic personalities who played a fundamental role in modernising and transforming Romania and, on the other hand, we have a hard and painful legacy, represented by the difficult years of dictatorship, which brought the destruction of democracy and the rule of law, the trampling of the human dignity, the enclosure of fundamental rights, criminal policies, disinformation, torture and many suffering."

"The brave acts of the forerunners, the determination and courage which they fought with for achieving the national objectives, the sacrifice on the battle fields, the extraordinary force with which they opposed the criminal regimes of the 20th century should be our models and should guide all the actions we undertake for the good of our country. On the other hand, the atrocities and abuses which occurred during the communist regime should represent a very important lesson, which we should honestly assume and from which we learn that democracy, freedom and human rights are the most valuable assets we have, for which we must incessantly fight with all the strength that we have. Any attack on human dignity and the rule of law, which is not fought efficiently, can anytime open the path toward some abuses. There are and there will be dangers, but the fact that we have a mature and vigilant society, citizens with a strong civic sense, who know their rights and who don't hesitate to fight for them represents an essential guarantee for the democratic future of Romania," Klaus Iohannis underscored.

He added that the three decades since the Revolution of December 1989 meant 30 years of "difficult transition."

"But, the fact that today Romania is a member state of the European Union and NATO, and has a solid strategic partnership with the United States of America proves, without any doubt, that the foundation which we built all these years is solid and we have a functional democracy. In a Europe where, in some states, democracy is assaulted by populist leaders who lack the sense of responsibility, the dangerous challenge of some values considered to be inalienable until yesterday, the decisions incompatible with the respect owed to partners and allies, the Romanians have chosen, without any doubt, the ethic and political values which also inspired the visionary founding fathers of the European Union," the President also said. AGERPRES (RO - author: Catalina Matei, editor: Mihai Simionescu; EN - author: Rodica State, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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