The Russian-Romanian conference at the Gorchakov Fund. Opinions and comments

16 March 2018

On March 16, conference “Neighborhood and Good Neighborliness in Foreign Affairs. A Special Perspective on Russian-Romanian Relations” took place at the Gorchakov Fund. The event with the participation of scientists and diplomats from the two countries had been organized by the Gorchakov Fund jointly with the Nikolae Titulescu European Foundation.

Executive Director of the Gorchakov Fund Leonid Drachevsky welcomed the participants when opening the discussion. He thanked representatives of the Romanian delegation for continuous work on improving the bilateral relations and called the present conference a remarkable example of such work.

When people try to find a common language, they find it, believes Leonid Drachevsky. He reminded that the first meeting in such format took place in 2017 and reassured that joint activities of the Gorchakov Fund and the Titulescu Foundation would continue.

- Today we can feel that the spirit, the mood of the last year meeting has been very well preserved! – said head of the Romanian delegation –​  President of the Nikolae Titulescu European Foundation Adrian Nestase.

The well-known politician, who was heading the government of Romania in 2000-2004, called discussions organized in such format a bright example of an intensive political dialogue. Adrian Nestase believes that many politicians, businessmen and cultural figures will follow that example and the cooperation will be developing. And the basic element, which can be used to evaluate our relations, includes neighborhood and good neighborliness.

Much was said at the conference about outstanding Romanian diplomat, pre-war Minister of Foreign Affairs, who served as President of the General Assembly of the League of Nations, Nikolae Titulescu. More than 80 years ago he wrote that rapprochement between Moscow and Bucharest was needed for both countries.

- And we should continue using that approach, urged Adrian Nestase.

The attendees of the conference admitted that the present level of the bilateral relations was not just disturbing. It is weighing heavily upon us, even tending to become worse considering relations between Russia and the largest EU states. This being said, Romania is our neighbor in the Black Sea region and an important potential partner. That is why it is necessary to take effort and establish a political dialogue and cooperation on the issues of security. The potential for trade and economic relations is also big.

The cooperation should develop in a pragmatic direction, even though contradictions exist on a certain number of issues. We should avoid escalation of tension; otherwise an enormous risk exists to again slide back to a cold war.

We should look for areas of common interest where we could cooperate for the mutual benefit, urged Director of the Center for European and International Studies of HSE Dr. Timofey Borodachev

The Romanian experts acknowledged that it had never happened before that the bilateral contacts were decreased by so much. And absence of the dialogue resulted in not knowing the arguments of each other on a number of issues. They believe in Bucharest that their country is situated in the periphery of relations between Russia and the EU and NATO and cannot influence those heavyweights. A comparison of Romania with grass, on which elephants walk, was interesting. The answer to that was an urge for Bucharest to pursue a pro-Romanian policy and become a strong player in modern Europe.

A full text of the article in Russian can be found here