- Foreign Secretary emphasises ongoing strength of UK-Romania relationship at joint forum, and signs renewed Strategic Partnership with Romanian counterpart
- Support for Ukraine and the broader Black Sea community was at the top of the agenda, as well as the nations’ collective defence through NATO
- Joint forum to take place annually going forward, to maintain strong partnership
The UK will bolster its strong partnership with Romania today (Thursday 23 March), with the Foreign Secretary set to emphasise the particular importance of standing shoulder to shoulder with Romanian partners in the face of Russia’s aggression in neighbouring Ukraine.
Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu is in London this week to meet the Foreign Secretary and sign a renewed strategic partnership to strengthen and maintain the UK and Romania’s deep historical connections and economic ties, from our strong trading relationship to shared objectives through NATO.
The strategic partnership was first established in 2003, setting out our shared commitment to grow relations between the two countries, and the Foreign Secretary will recognise this week that the strengthening of the UK and Romania’s relationship is of significant importance in the context of the invasion of Ukraine, and the security challenges faced in Europe in 2023.
The two Ministers will also open a joint bilateral forum at the Foreign Office in London, bringing together government and business representatives, parliamentarians, academics and civil society to discuss the future of UK-Romania cooperation, covering a range of fields from economic, trade and energy cooperation, to civil society and education.
The forum presents an opportunity for the UK to emphasise its unwavering support for Romania and the Black Sea region, which forms a central bulwark in the UK’s defence system in the region. It comes after the government announced new resilience funding in Moldova this month, underlining the UK’s support for territorial integrity as part of work with Russia’s neighbours, to help address the threat on their doorstep.
Opening the forum today, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is expected to say:
As discussions with my friend Bogdan Aurescu demonstrate, our countries could not be closer on the biggest issues affecting our nations, the whole of Europe, and indeed the whole world.
We now have 1.2 million people who are able to call themselves both Romanian and British – some of which are here today – up and down the UK. It is absolutely right that in 2023, we refresh our ambition and confirm our commitment to work closely together in foreign policy, defence, education, science, crime-fighting, stopping human trafficking, trade and investment.
The Foreign Secretary and Minister Aurescu will commit to collective defence through NATO, and to working together to strengthen the transatlantic relationship, with a particular view to countering Russia’s aggressive action in the Black Sea region.
Romania holds the longest border with Ukraine in all of NATO, and has consequently provided support to nearly 4 million Ukrainian refugees, with more than 100,000 making the country their temporary home. The British Embassy in Bucharest has also offered support in education, allowing Ukrainian teachers to continue to teach their curriculum in Romania. The Foreign Secretary will pay tribute to the generous support provided by Romania since the invasion.
Today’s session will also see the two nations pledge to work together to strengthen energy security and tackle climate change, expand connections between people and businesses, and to promote growth in both countries following the pandemic.