Interview with H.E. Mr. Teodor MELEŞCANU,
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Vasile SIMILEANU: Excellency,
Since its first issue, GeoPolitica magazine has sought to set a certain standard and an attitude within Romania’s specialty scientific environment. The geopolitical, geostrategic, geo-economics and geo-history approaches have been positively perceived by certain segments of the Romanian society. There are still some wrong approaches which mix up ideological trends and political orientations and, respectively, geopolitical theories… In this context, how do you see the development of geopolitics in Romania? What approaches should be envisioned with a view to promote the national interest? What approaches should the Romanian diplomacy develop?
Teodor MELEŞCANU: More than two decades after the end of the Cold War, global realities seemed to have grown into a more rational, predictable and, why not, controllable, framework, while international relations and states’ instruments of influence could be seen through a post-modern lens – that is, a world where classical notions of geopolitics, of interests and relations of power taken in a ”hard” sense, appeared to have become rather marginal. However, the recent years have acutely brought back into focus more geopolitical approaches in the international sphere, against a background of multiplying crises and amplified global and regional risks. We live through times when there is a certain feeling of a ”revenge of history”, and our previous sense of optimism has become more qualified. We are perhaps entering an era where what will prevail in the global arena could be a new type of realism, an era where entrenched ideas of rational, constructive, positive-sum interactions, between actors more and more reliant on soft power, are reassessed and will be treated with increasing caution. Our diplomatic practice, in its turn, will have to be increasingly attuned to a notion of national interest seen in a more pragmatic and determined manner – meaning that we could rediscover the relevance of the analytical toolbox of geopolitics as a perennial science. What needs to be emphasized here, in my opinion, is that geopolitics cannot be decoupled from an axiological view of the national interest – placed as ever in its context of international evolutions, flux and even fractures, of ongoing, inescapable global tectonics. Ultimately, geopolitical calculus and positioning for Romania will remain rooted in our foreign policy profile, built upon the security foundations, the community of values, in short upon our historical Euro-Atlantic identity. The Romanian diplomacy will therefore continue to place itself in its natural space of development, where our allies and partners are sharing a set of objectives and building together responses to the challenges of the future, by virtue of our belonging to the same nucleus of geostrategic values and interests, assumed in a principled and programmatic manner.
The perspectives opened after 1989 have revealed the geopolitical and geostrategic importance of Romania on a regional level. Namely the vital role some geographical elements – the Carpathians, Danube and the Black Sea – have played in the strategies we should promote in the relationship with third countries. Unfortunately, some historic events made us abandon these projects. Presently, we consider the Danube Strategy in relation to the EU and the Black Sea Sinergy in relation to Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. We have to admit that these strategies don’t work the way we’d like to. Which are the real causes and how can we reaffirm ourselves in these geostrategic and geopolitical spaces?
Teodor MELEŞCANU: As have I noted already, the basic, manifest facts of our geostrategic context and situation will always need to be taken into account, and permanently placed as a background of our foreign policy initiatives, overtures and projects – all the more so in what regards strategic or tactical political approaches in the regions – in fact intersection of regions where we belong. It is true to some extent that, in some of the regional initiatives in which Romania has been a pioneer and the strongest advocate, results have not always reached the level of our expectations. The actions taken by certain actors, in disregard of international norms and even of the basic freedom of national choice for every participant in regional interactions, the temptation for zero-sum approaches, for a raw interplay of powers, have had a clear part in undermining the conditions for true, mutually fruitful regional cooperation.
We still have to persevere though, and be more creative, more forthcoming, more realistic, as the bases and benefits of a principled dialogue, of a genuine cooperative spirit, bilaterally and multilaterally, are here to stay. There is no other way ahead, especially in a regional and international context that is increasingly complicated and unpredictable: increasingly, there are areas of acute interest and preoccupation – from the various dimensions of security (geostrategic, human, energy, cyber a.s.o.) to the challenges of economic development, of the need for expanding infrastructures, means of transport and communication, of access to resources, the urgency of protecting the environment, of being prepared for a probable multiplication of situations of crisis and emergencies, etc. – where only direct, uninhibited discussion and cooperation, and joint projects can bring effective solutions to problems and risks that are common to all.
The EU’s Danube Strategy – initiated by Romania together with Austria – is an European instrument, a macrostrategy, aimed at addressing common challenges in the broader region of the Danube basin. However, due to the heterogeneous geographical area covered by the Danube Strategy (from Germany and Austria to Western Balkans, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova), it is one of the most complex macro-regional strategies in terms of participants, mix of national interests, different levels of administrative capacities etc.
Probably the initial expectations were too high, perhaps too optimistic, I may say, but nevertheless several important projects, of local impact, have been developed and implemented under the auspices of the Danube Strategy. There is undoubtful evidence that increased cooperation has taken place in the region since the launch of the Strategy. Just to give an example, Romania stands out with EUSDR flagship projects such as Danubius RI or the construction of new inter-modal terminals in the ports of Giurgiu and Galati. What we lack is the proper communication of the results aimed and achieved and a more realistic and pragmatic approach to the things that can be reached and solved at the regional level. Romania perceives this macroregional framework as a useful platform for the third countries (some already engaged in an institutional relationship with the EU, the other aspiring) to get closer to European values and principles and to get used to the European mechanisms. Therefore, Romania is further determined in its endeavors to create synergies and coordination between existing policies and initiatives taking place across the Danube Region, inclusively by attracting the non-EU participating countries in the developing and implementation of visible projects.
Beyond the current horizon of problems that retains and concentrates the attention and efforts of Europe and of its more immediate or more remote partners, we need to prepare ourselves already, and to redouble our energies, explore opportunities more thoroughly, identify new areas for trust, understanding and joint action.
The same is true for the Black Sea Synergy – in an amplified sense, which is somehow to be expected, given the larger complexities, more intricate, historically rooted, regional realities in this part of Europe – as compared to the Danube axis, where Europeanization and the traditions of constructive interaction are better, more solidly entrenched.
I believe we need to make an extra effort to place this region and its realities in a larger context of cooperation between Europe and wider areas, the idea of the neighbors of neighbors … an area where we need to work for enhanced trust and better mutual understanding – certainly though, without abdicating from the values we subscribe to as Europeans and Euro-Atlantic partners.
The Black Sea region continues to stay in focus at the level of the most important institutional frameworks in which we participate – from the EU to NATO, to the bilateral and multilateral frames of reference.
V.S.: We have had many initiatives on the Black Sea-Caspian Sea axis, starting with the political ones – the Eastern Partnership, European Neighborhood Policy, the military and energetic partnerships and many others. What should we do to resume these projects? I take the liberty to ask you this question, in the context of the statements you delivered in the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs where you pointed out Romania should pay a greater attention to regional projects, involving neighboring countries. What should we know and how should we act?
Teodor MELEŞCANU: The EU is in full process of reassessing its general, sectoral and regional strategies, as part and follow up of its newly launched Global Strategy – from the strategies in the Eastern Neighbourhood and the engagement to revitalize the European Neighbourhood Policy, to the maritime strategy a.s.o. We are even beginning to connect a whole variety of shared regional interests within more comprehensive European frameworks – like the Three Seas Initiative of Croatia, supported also by close strategic partners of ours, such as Poland. The preconditions for success therefore remain, and we just need to bring more dedication, more pragmatism, and to explore new avenues and instruments for regional cooperation in an environment that essentially requires keen and deep strategic attention and projection.
As you note, we have a renewed interest, and will increasingly count on bilateral approaches, on refreshing and revaluing the accumulated record and the opportunities inherent in our bilateral political dialogues, as we strongly believe that the work, the effort of building trust and cooperation at regional levels still begins at the grassroots level of interstate rapports and collaboration. So, while concentrating very thoroughly and intensely on the complex matrix of multilateral / institutional collective relations, we should not tend to forget the value inherent in our extensive range of bilateral relations.
There is an unmistakable more general trend at a larger international level to revisit the positive, substantial potential of strong, strategic bilateral dialogues and partnerships – in part perhaps again, as a result of a certain degree of dissatisfaction (or of overstated expectations) with the functioning, effectiveness, and results of some of the multilateral frameworks. Still these are the two sides of the same coin, and national diplomacies need to be able to restart, revitalize and reintegrate both dimensions within new approaches, more adequate to the 21st century and its challenges.
Romania has been in fact, for a long time, at the forefront of the promotion of regional cooperation, from the time of the launching of the various cooperation formats in the post-war Balkans in the 1990s, even before we were formal members of the EU and NATO. And nobody can say that regional cooperation in the Western Balkans has not proved worthwhile to this very day. But as the uncertainties of the present show, with the re-emergence of challenges and signs of preoccupation, this is a permanent, strategic business. So in this sense, Romania has never departed from its European and regional responsibilities, and has stayed true to its long historical tradition and record as an advocate and an active promoter and contributor to regional cooperation – and as a security ”donor”.
V.S.: Excellency, What do you think our approach regarding Southern Caucasus states should be, taking into account the fact that prolonged conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh and Georgia create a high degree of insecurity in the Black Sea – Caspian Sea region? Do you see a possible contribution of Romania to an overall effort aiming towards reconciliation and ”reconstruction” in the region?
Teodor MELEŞCANU: Romania is directly interested in the resolution of protracted conflicts in South-Caucasus area, since they continue to pose challenges to the overall regional security and stability. We have traditionally had a unitary and principled position with regard to all protracted conflicts, pleading for their peaceful, negotiated and comprehensive settlement, in full observance of international law principles and norms. As you know, negotiations for the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are held in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, which is the only international format mandated by the parties themselves with the task of seeking a negotiated solution of the conflict. We have always encouraged the parties to show political will and constructive engagement in identifying a final political solution, since only a negotiated and fully accepted by both parties solution can lead to long-lasting peace. As for the conflict in Georgia, negotiations are held in the format of Geneva International Discussion, where the European Union is taking part. On our side, we have always considered the statusquo in the two separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as unacceptable.
Furthermore, Romania attaches unwavering priority to the peaceful settlement of protracted conflicts in Georgia, based on international law, particularly with respect to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, within its internationally recognized borders.
On the long term, we think a greater degree of cooperation between the South Caucasus countries could be beneficial and EU can bring many benefits not only in terms of creating welfare, but also with regard to increasing security and stability. Soft diplomacy, people-to-people approach, which is characteristic to the EU, can do a lot to improve the overall ”climate” and increase trust in the region. Of course, being a member of the EU, Romania can play an important role in this respect, especially since we have such good relations, bilaterally, with countries in the region.
In this context, I would like to place a stress on the Republic of Moldova. Romania supports the stability and progress of Republic of Moldova (RMD), and continues to have an efficient dialogue and cooperation with the Government and Parliament of RMD. The comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the Transnistrian conflict remains a matter of high priority for Romania. Romania sees ”5+2” as the only format able to foster a political, negotiated and sustainable solution to the conflict while fully respecting RMD’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Romania expresses its hope that during the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship, this year, all parties involved will continue to support this process. We also place a special attention to the issue of the remaining units of the Russian army and the Russian armaments from the Colbasna depot, which should be withdrawn in accordance with the Istanbul commitments.
V.S.: Your Excellency, Please mention a few projects related to Georgia, a country with which we have the unique privilege to have in common a personality like Antim Ivireanul.
Teodor MELEŞCANU: Romania and Georgia have a very good bilateral dialogue, highlighted by the sustained dynamic of bilateral contacts in recent years. In 2016 we have had, among others, the visits to Romania of Georgian ministers of defence (April, 6-8) and internal affairs (April, 25-26), the official visit of Romania’s Chamber of Deputies Speaker to Tbilisi (February, 8-9), the visit to Romania’s National Agency of Integrity of a delegation from Georgia Public Service Office (May, 23-24), as well as the visit of the Romanian Minister of Justice to Tbilisi (July, 27-28) – to mention only the top of the iceberg. All these contacts have beard concrete fruits, among which the most important are the possibilities created for capitalization of Romania’s experience in implementation of European standards in various fields, as the fight against corruption.
For example, during the visit of Romanian Minister of Justice to Tbilisi a Cooperation Agreement between the two Ministries was signed, which envisages regular trainings offered by Romanian experts, on the topic of European affairs, to their Georgian colleagues (the first such training took place in Bucharest in November 2016). At the same time, the Declaration signed in Bucharest by Ministers of Internal Affairs of Romania and Georgia on April 25, 2016, envisages technical support of Romanian experts for Georgia’s efforts to implement the conditions for liberalization of visa regime with the European Union. At this point, it is important to mention that Romania has always been a staunch supporter of Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
Our country was the first EU member state to have ratified the Association Agreement between EU and Georgia. Furthermore, our country has pleaded, inside the EU, for a rapid liberalization of the visa regime for Georgian citizens. Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs has signed, in June 2016, together with heads of diplomatic services of like-minded countries, a letter addressed to HR Federica Mogherini on this very same topic. Our efforts were successful – the EU Council decision on liberalization of visa regime for Georgia will come into force at the end of this month. Georgia is nowadays the uncontested champion of the Eastern Partnership, having implemented large-scale reforms meant to get the country closer to EU standards, in fields like justice and rule of law, internal affairs, economy and so on.
At the same time, our country has been a constant supporter of Georgia getting closer to NATO. From the beginning of 2013 until the end of 2016, Romania’s diplomatic mission to Tbilisi performed the functions of NATO Contact Point Embassy to Georgia (two consecutive mandates), which enabled our country to consolidate the political and operational support to Georgia’s Transatlantic aspirations. The performance of our Embassy in Tbilisi in its capacity of NATO Contact Point for Georgia has received a lot of positive comments and appreciation from NATO, as well as Georgian authorities.
It is also worth noting that our Georgian interlocutors always express, in their discussions with Romanian officials, gratitude for Romania’s support with regard to the issue of independence and territorial integrity of Georgia. Romania has been for a long time the main contributor to the EU civil Monitoring Mission (EUMM) for the implementation of the 6 points Agreement which put an end to the military hostilities of August 2008. In November 2016, one of the members of the Romanian contingent, Mr. Sandu Stanciu, was nominated by EUMM leadership as one of the best monitors in the field and rewarded with a distinction during a public ceremony.
V.S.: Excellency, Relations with Azerbaijan are perceived, unfortunately, exclusively in relation with energy issues. Can we develop them in other fields, too? In which fields concretely?
Teodor MELEŞCANU: Developments in the energy field have had a lot of visibility in the recent years, due to the overall effervescence in the industry. Nevertheless, our countries’ relations with Azerbaijan are much more complex. Azerbaijan is the only state in South Caucasus region with which Romania has a strategic partnership, dating back to 2009, as well as an Action Plan (signed in 2011) for its implementation, encompassing cooperation in a whole range of issues. The political dialogue between Romania and Azerbaijan is excellent, as well as the collaboration at the level of Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Like in the case of Georgia, Romania has been a constant supporter of a greater degree of cooperation of Azerbaijan with EU and NATO, in the same time favouring a tailor-made approach of EU with regard to Eastern Partnership countries.
Romania has supported the idea of a Strategic Partnership Agreement between Azerbaijan and the EU since the very beginning, and recently the negotiations on the new Agreement between EU and Republic of Azerbaijan have started. Furthermore, Romanian diplomatic mission in Baku has performed the functions of NATO Contact Point Embassy to the Republic of Azerbaijan for 8 years in a row (four consecutive mandates, between 2008 and 2016). In this capacity, we have contributed significantly to the increase of visibility of cooperation between NATO and Azerbaijan, which was much appreciated by Azerbaijani authorities, as well as by NATO officials. Only the fact that our Embassy has held the mandate of NATO Contact Point for eight years consecutively is a performance per se, being the only current case of such a long involvement. It is also worth noting that the successor of Romanian Embassy in this capacity – the Embassy of Hungary to Baku – has expressed its intention to continue the activity on the same lines with the ones opened by the Romanian diplomatic mission.
Let me also point out that Romania and Romanians have a very good image at the level of the Azerbaijani society, which is reflected by the very positive media we enjoy in Azerbaijan (a lot of articles have been published in recent years about Romania, its culture and traditions, as well as the activity of our Embassy in the capacity of NATO Contact Point – and they have been overwhelmingly positive). You will be perhaps surprised to find out that in Azerbaijan many people have read poems of our National Poet, Mihai Eminescu. Last year the National Library of Azerbaijan has organized, in collaboration with our Embassy, a very successful event on the topic of the life and poetry of Mihai Eminescu, during which a series of Eminescu poems translated in Azerbaijani language has been recited by an Azerbaijani poetess.
It is true that Azerbaijan has a tremendous potential in the field of energy, due to its hydrocarbons reserves, as well as in the field of transportation, due to its geographical location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and the large investments they are currently making in transport infrastructure. Projects like AGRI / BRUA and the Black Sea – Caspian Sea Freight Transport Corridor are high on our bilateral agenda. On the other hand, Azerbaijan is nowadays focusing on efforts to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbons, and we must take this opportunity and increase our presence in economic projects there. The very good bilateral relations at the political level can help us in this regard.
V.S.: Minister, When we talk about Armenia, many people think about the Armenian community in Romania, which has had a significant impact on a cultural and social level in the Romanian society. How would you characterize current relations with Armenia?
Teodor MELEŞCANU: As you have rightly pointed out, Romanian and Armenian peoples share a longstanding tradition of peaceful co-existence, cooperation and good relations. The Armenian community has left its mark in the Romanian culture, spiritual life, traditions and this has generated many common achievements in historiography, culture, and spirituality. All these constitute a solid foundation for our bilateral relations.
Coming back to our days, I would like to remind you that Romania was the first country to have recognized the independence of Republic of Armenia, back in 1991 (December 11). Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established only a week later, on December 17, 1991. Last year, on 17th of December, Romanian and Armenian Ministers of Foreign Affairs have exchanged letters of congratulation on the occasion of the celebration of 25 years of bilateral diplomatic relations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania has issued a statement to mark this important anniversary.
Furthermore, we enjoy an excellent collaboration at the local level, with numerous cities in Romania having signed and actively implementing cooperation agreements with cities in Armenia. Among these, we can mention the Agreements between Roman and Dilijan, Sinaia and Tsakhkadzor, Bucharest and Erevan, Suceava and Vagharşapat, Botosani and Aştarak, Gherla and Idjevan, Gheorghieni and Alaverdi. There are also many others.
We are currently negotiating a new framework agreement in the field of culture, which is going to open enhanced possibilities for expanding our cooperation related to culture and education.
Let me also mention that Romania has been a diligent supporter of a new Agreement between European Union and Armenia, to provide the legal basis for the development of relations in the coming years. Recently, Armenian president Serj Sargsyan has travelled to Brussels (February 27-28) and on this occasion the conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between EU and Armenia was announced. This is an important achievement in the overall framework of relations between EU and Armenia.
V.S.: Your Excellency, How do you see the implementation of regional projects and trilaterals now underway around Romania and that have our country as initiator? What role will the Poland-Romania-Turkey trilateral play? How will the formats with Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and the states in the Caucasus deploy? What do you think the reaction of other actors interested in this region will be? How will the relations with Turkey develop?
Teodor MELEŞCANU: The North-Atlantic Alliance is the key guarantor of Romania’s security, and our membership to both NATO and EU defines our foreign and security policy. At the same time, the bilateral and regional formats of dialogue and cooperation in the area of security and defence have a particular relevance and bring added value to the efforts aimed at ensuring regional and international security, and contribute to consolidating the profile of Romania in the European and Euro-Atlantic structures.
The Romania-Poland-Turkey trilateral format is a clear example in this respect. All three states share similar security concerns and also similar approaches about what needs to be done for addressing all current threats and challenges in an efficient manner. At the same time, as it is only natural, there are nuances and particularities of each of these three states in addressing specific topics, and the trilateral format has the merit of offering the possibility to have constructive discussions on these topics, with a view to harmonize positions and identify new opportunities for cooperation. The most recent meeting of this trilateral format, at Foreign Ministers level, took place in August 2016 and reconfirmed the added value of the format and the join interest to further enhance dialogue. A new Ministerial meeting is planned for later this year.
Another example is the Bucharest Format, the so-called B9, a platform for dialogue and consultations among the Central and Eastern European countries. The format was launched in 2015, at the initiative of Romania and Poland. Since then, a number of meetings took place, at different levels, including at the level of Heads of State and Government: in November 2015, Romania hosted the B9 Summit. The discussions in this format provide us with the opportunity to coordinate our actions and our messages with the aim of bringing meaningful inputs to the Allied processes and initiatives, on the basis of our specific knowledge and experience, in full respect to the principles of Allied solidarity and indivisibility of security. We will continue to engage constructively in this process, as we consider that the Bucharest Format is beneficial both for the regional and the Euro-Atlantic security in its entirety.
Coming back to the Republic of Moldova, I need to highlight Romania and RMD share a dynamic bilateral relation with a mutual interest in further developing the cooperation under all aspects, in the spirit of the Strategic Partnership signed between the two countries. Romania has been supporting, constantly and substantially, RMD’s European path through concrete assistance, including energy interconnections, improving educational infrastructure and the rehabilitation of cultural institutions.
In the framework of the EU’s Eastern Partnership program, which addresses EU’s policies towards six East European countries (R. Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus), RMD signed with the EU the Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, and fulfilled in 2014 the conditions for the liberalisation of the visa regime with the EU. With the liberalisation of the visa regime with the EU, the citizens of RMD were the first of the Eastern Partnership countries to travel without visas across the EU.
The Eastern Partnership is an important toolbox, using both political and technical instruments, together with an important financial envelope. It is important for the authorities in RMD to concentrate on how to better use these tools, in order to foster the reform of state institutions and of the society itself. Romania continues an intense dialogue with RMD, EU, and IMF in order to support Chişinău‘s reform process, especially in strengthening the rule of law, judicial reform, and the fight against corruption.
There is also room for an enhanced cooperation between RO, UA and RMD on various segments. Cross border cooperation could generate benefits for all three sides.
Such cooperation is already functioning as part of EUSDR (EU Strategy for the Danube Region). The potential to design and implement projects in areas like transportation and energy can increase mobility and ensure more diversified access to resources. At the same time, we see perspectives regarding trade between these three states. On November 1st 2016 the three Chambers of Commerce organized a business forum in Cernăuţi with the purpose of exploring further opportunities for cross border cooperation.
In Galaţi there is a Contact Centre operated by the Romanian Border Police. This initiative was adopted in order to contribute to the implementation of the ENP.
V.S.: Excellency, I’ve had the chance to meet the Romanian ambassadors to Baku and Tbilisi. Honestly, I was impressed by Their Excellences’ capacity to pragmatically perceive their area of responsibility. From the discussions I’ve had with people dealing in the analysis environment in Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, these are open to developing some viable partnerships which are designed to open certain communication channels with Romania. Do you believe it is essential to develop some joint formats meant to relaunch some geopolitical and geostrategic projects, others than those ones promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs? Are such formats important?
Teodor MELEŞCANU: We have already developed excellent political dialogues and working relations with partners such as Turkey and Georgia, and a good bilateral relation with Armenia. We are a committed strategic partner for Turkey, with which we share profound political, economic and cultural connections. We value our partnership very much and we hope that developments in Turkey and in the region will provide more opportunities to develop it further and multiply our commonalities. This is quite challenging as we speak, but we need to allow for the profound, common interests to prevail, in Turkey and in the EU in relation with Turkey, as opposed to short-term, circumstantially motivated reactions that can undermine solid, historical bilateral relations.
Romania is committed to expanding the scope for such durable partnership in a trilateral format with Poland, based on the same basic strategic interests. We are among the most committed supporters of Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic path – as we are in fact ready to be of support and build comprehensive relations in a similar spirit with any Eastern partner that chooses to be part of a free, secure and prosperous Europe.
These are major geostrategic givens for us, this is if you wish our fundamental sense of geopolitics, as this is the overriding strategic interest of our Euro-Atlantic community.
At the same time, I am a strong supporter of diplomacy understood widely and performed via a diversity of channels. I have already announced my intention to launch a Consultative Council of the Romanian MFA, in which the energies and expertise of mainly national, but sometimes also international, think tanks could be channeled in order to serve our foreign policy goals. I think our bilateral dialogue with all our strategic partners could be best served if we equally manage to establish regular contacts between wider communities of experts from all our countries. I think your publication can play a role in this sense, too.
V.S.: Minister, Would you please send a personal message to those interested in geopolitics?
Teodor MELEŞCANU: Diplomacy constantly and consistently needs to refresh its instruments and capabilities, in tune with the changing data, trends and challenges of the international and regional environment. Geopolitics, as a science and, as I ventured to suggest, an art indeed, in permanent evolution itself, remains a clear and valid prism for discerning and assessing political-strategic givens and realities, a valuable instrument for analysis and action – why not, a key to a more effective insertion of national interests in the larger geostrategic picture, and to a better, more adequate response to national and collective challenges. Allow me therefore to praise and encourage your efforts, especially your solid, substantial contribution to nurturing this important section of expertise and a vibrant community of experts in such a field of perennial relevance.
Your Excellency, We sincerely wish you attain all the objectives of Romania’s foreign policy set for your term. We assure you we will truly support you whenever you consider our expertise is necessary. Thank you!
Interview by Vasile SIMILEANU