On Monday, Romania's President Klaus Iohannis urged Romanians in France to be more united and stay involved as much as they are now in helping modernise Romania.
"I am well aware of the aspirations and the difficulties you are experiencing. At this particular moment, I am urging you to be more united than ever and remain as involved as you are now in contributing to the modernisation of Romania, either in Paris or even in your home country. Perhaps the unifier, the catalyst that unites the ingredients I have referenced is regaining trust in a destiny: that of a strong, European Romania that respects the past and looks confidently toward the future," Iohannis said at a meeting with leaders of the local Romanian community organised at the Embassy of Romania in Paris.
He told the Romanians in France that they represent Romania honourably.
He said he was glad and excited to meet the Romanians in France amidst celebrations of Romania's Greater Union Centennial.
"It is a symbolic moment of extraordinary joy for us all, and it is natural to be so, because the Greater Union meant, besides the realisation of the centuries-old dream of the Romanians, a profound transformation of our country as well. The union brought about the modernisation of Romania and its integration with European nations, but we all know that the long awaited day came after a very tough period: at the beginning of 1918, when the country was under foreign occupation, when the population was facing big needs, few people imagined that December 1 will find the Romanians in the Old Kingdom alongside those in Bessarabia, Bucovina and Transylvania. There were very big sacrifices on the battlefield of WWI, followed by tireless political and diplomatic efforts. Above all, there was the boundless hope and confidence of our predecessors from 1918 in a common destiny of all Romanians," said Iohannis.
The President added that France was a reliable partner of Romania's in WWI, bringing to mind the military mission led by General Berthelot and the fact that the borders of Greater Romania were drawn after the correct recommendations of French geographer Emmanuel de Martonne.
"France played an important role in the recognition of the Greater Union. A hundred years after that moment, Romania and France are all together, which is also the purpose of my visit to Paris, to make sure that this relationship, which has brought so much satisfaction to both the Romanians and the French people, will continue and will become stronger. To deepen this relationship, I will sign a political statement with President Emmanuel Macron on the strategic partnership between our countries, "said Iohannis.
He mentioned that on his first visit to Paris as head of state in February 2015, he agreed with the French counterpart of that time to organise a cultural season that will take place successively in France and Romania starting on Tuesday.
"Our 2015 project has materialised itself: tomorrow, together with President Emmanuel Macron, we are officially launching the France-Romania Season at the Georges Pompidou Center, which will bring together over 400 cultural and artistic events: shows, concerts, exhibitions. You are all welcome and I invite you to participate in the events of the season alongside your French friends. Since the season will pay special attention to young people, please, dear students - you are a few thousand in France - and dear young people, attend and use the opportunity to create new links and dialogue between Romania and France, because you will represent the future of this relationship," said Iohannis.
He wished the leaders of the Romanian community "Happy National Day!" for December 1.
President Klaus Iohannis was accompanied by his wife, Carmen.
Romanian Ambassador to France Luca Niculescu said that the Romanians in France are a "remarkable presence," showing that he always finds success stories.
"You are the best ambassadors of Romania," Niculescu said.
Approximately 300 Romanians settled in France participated in the meeting with Klaus Iohannis.
President Klaus Iohannis on Monday started a two-day official visit to France for the inauguration of the Romania-France cultural season, which marks ten years since the signing of a strategic partnership statement and the celebration of Romania's December 1 Greater Union Centennial. He is scheduled to meet his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.