While in Lithuania on Friday, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis stressed the importance of European unity in the context of the war in Ukraine and showed that, although Russia’s aggression united countries at the European and transatlantic level, it risks “polarizing and fragmenting the international scene”.
“We need the entire international community to stay united, because this war is not Europe’s war. This war certainly affects the whole world – in terms of food and energy security, economic disruptions or when it comes to the efforts to fight climate change. We must be aware that while Russia’s aggression has brought us together at the European and Transatlantic level, there is still a risk of polarization and fragmentation of the international scene. This is why, as we continue to strengthen ties with our immediate neighbourhood and with our Allies, as well as we credibly carry forward the promises of expanding the European Union, we must also further spread our message and build partnerships with countries and regions around the world,” Iohannis told the international symposium “The Idea of Europe,” organized by the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas.
“We need a collective effort to engage, to show that we empathize with the difficulties of our global partners, to explain the conduct we have and to understand their positions, so that we avoid them feeling neglected”, he added.
The Romanian President mentioned that initiatives such as the Solidarity Corridors, which facilitate exports from Ukraine to world markets, including to the countries that feel the greatest need, must be promoted.
He added that Romania facilitated the transit of over 7 million tons of grain from Ukraine and will continue on the same note, as a “contribution to managing food insecurity that can affect vulnerable countries around the globe.”
At the same time, the head of state stated that instruments such as Free Trade Agreements, partnerships, different dialogue formats or participation in emblematic EU programs, such as Erasmus or Horizon, should be used in order to strengthen our global ties.
“It is necessary to identify the means by which we can equalize our economic power on the global stage, so that we do not witness a geopolitical drift towards Russia’s discourse and, therefore, towards authoritarianism and to the detriment of democracy. It is clear that the manner in which we respond to all these challenges will define the way the geopolitical map will look in the future,” Iohannis said.
According to the head of state, the path of democracy, freedom, human rights, respect for the rules-based international order and multilateralism is the right one for a prosperous, stable and secure future. He also said that Russia’s attack is not only against Ukraine, but also against fundamental European values, values such as democracy, freedom, human rights or the sovereign exercise of rights.