President Iohannis addressing the Parliament: Regaining confidence in the political class, the big stake of 2016

“The most tragic lesson of 2015 is called Colectiv.”

President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday addressed the joint session of the Parliament, marking one year of presidential mandate. He told the lawmakers that he had wished 2015 to be the year of regaining normality, with the reconstruction of confidence in the political class being the great stake of next year, arguing a deep shift is needed in this respect.

“I wanted to address you one year after taking the presidential office not to make a blank balance sheet, but as a move of democratic normality (…) I wished 2015 to be the year of regaining normality inside the country and abroad. On domestic affairs, my first promise was to go in for politics in a different manner, without scandal, with respect and reliability. I considered it’s a start also for the president, whose role is to be a provider of temper, and not a source of tension (…) In just one year, it became natural to have consultations, to get round the table, president, parties and civil society. I know that some wondered why I don’t react to a certain topic, why I am not lashing out against some high-ranking politicians, why I don’t answer in kind to attacks. I hope by honoring the promise to go in for politics differently, I also answered these questions.

President Iohannis went on saying that 2015 saw agreements on public topics, such as on increasing the defense budget to 2 pc of GDP or on the national defense strategy.

He also noted that Romania’s prestige abroad was also re-established during 2015, seeing the consolidation of the country’s strategic partnerships with countries such as USA, France, Poland, Germany, Spain, UK and Turkey, but also the consolidation of the bilateral ties with the neighboring states, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria.

“From various reasons, Romania was somehow isolated in the previous years. I wanted to change that, which explains the great activity at international level. Romania is a respected country in EU and NATO, ready to assume responsibilities (…),” Iohannis said.

He pointed out that regaining normality also involved the Romanians from diaspora. “I am glad the promise to have a law on voting by mail was respected. It’s not a perfect law, there will be probably some things to be improved but it’s important the law exists, came in due time and originated from the political class’ will to honor the promise to the citizens,” the President argued.

Klaus Iohannis didn’t forget to mention about the recent Colectiv tragedy.

“We must not forget the lessons of 2015 and what is missing so that Romania should be truly strong and prosperous. The most tragic lesson of 2015 is undoubtedly Colectiv. The event hurt an entire nation and brought to light some systems’ problems, perpetuated for years. There are conclusions that must make us act and be responsible. The hardest conclusion is that corruption literally kills, that innocent lives can be claimed if the laws and rules are not observed and if we, as society, close our eyes when theyse laws are broken,” Iohannis said.

The Romanian president also reminded that 26 years after the fall of the communist regime, we should not forget this sacrifice. “Today, the best way to honor this sacrifice is to rebuild the confidence and to go in for politics in a different manner. The reconstruction of the confidence in the political class is the topic that I propose for 2016,” he stated, while adding that as mediator between state and civil society, it’s his duty to do that, but however the parties are the ones to bear the brunt of it.

Referring to other challenges of 2016, Klaus Iohannis said he expects a responsible ruling from the new Cabinet. “I think the responsible attitude for the public money and finding an efficient solution is the lines of this mandate. I would like to have a economic growth that should not be only in statistics, but also a growth that should reflect on the day-to-day life, on every Romanian’s standard of living (…) It’s time for a change. It’s up to all of us to meet these society’s demands. I invite you to stand together in this action,” President Iohannis concluded his speech, which was attended by PM Dacian Cioloș, representatives of the diplomatic corps and heads of state institutions. 399 out of 547 MPs were present at the plenary sitting.

Klaus Iohannis marks one year of mandate as president on December 21. This is the fourth speech he delivers in Parliament.

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