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Prince of Wales' Bucharest visit roundup

Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea
Inquam Prințul Charles Margareta Raed Arafat

Prince Charles of Wales' brief visit to Bucharest on Wednesday included meetings with President Klaus Iohannis, Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca and Custodian of the Crown of Romania, Margareta, focusing on the Ukrainian refugee crisis and Romania's support to Ukraine amid the Russian invasion of the neighboring country.

The first item on the senior royal's public agenda was the meeting with President Klaus Iohannis, with the two discussing bilateral relations and the Romania - UK Strategic Partnership, Romania's assistance to Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees, solutions to limit the effects of climate change and preserve biodiversity, as well as the timeliness of educational projects on biodiversity and climate change.

According to the Presidential Administration, the head of the state informed the Prince of Wales about the humanitarian hub in Suceava and the coordination of support efforts from several states for Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine was a topic of discussion also during Prince Charles' meeting with Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca at the Victoria Palace of Government, on which occasion His Royal Highness expressed concerns over the threat the Russian blockade of the ports of Odessa and Mykolayiv poses to the world food security.

Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca gave an extensive presentation of Romania's efforts to support Ukraine in every way: taking in refugees, supporting internally displaced Ukrainian citizens and those who defend their country, supporting Ukrainian grain exports, and also presented an assessment of the on-site military situation in Ukraine and of the prospects and threats generated in the Black Sea region.

Green energy was another topic of discussion with the Romanian officials.

President Klaus Iohannis and the heir to the British Crown discussed solutions to limit the effects of climate change and preserve biodiversity applicable in Romania, the United Kingdom and internationally, emphasizing our country's commitment to achieving the European climate change goals.

The head of the state emphasized that financing for green projects, the afforestation of degraded land and the reconstruction of habitats are priorities in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, having substantial financial allocations assigned.

A related topic was the timeliness of developing climate change educational projects aimed at raising awareness, but also at preparing the younger generations for the green jobs capable of generating sustainable economic growth.

During the meeting with the Romanian Prime Minister, Prince Charles inquired about Romania's green and renewable energy policies and measures to reduce carbon dioxide footprints.

"His Royal Highness recommended his Sustainable Markets Initiative as a solution to bringing together companies that have engaged in commercial activities to reduce pollution and carbon dioxide emissions," the government said.

Nicolae Ciuca expressed Romania's openness to supporting green energy investments, especially offshore wind projects British companies are expected to invest in in the next period.

In the afternoon, Prince Charles was welcomed by the Custodian of the Crown of Romania, Margareta, and by His Royal Highness Prince Consort Radu at Elisabeta Palace.

Later in the day, Prince Charles visited the Romexpo Center for Ukrainian refugees, which provides clothing, food, baby equipment and key essentials to displaced people.

Accompanied by Crown Custodian Margareta, the Prince of Wales spoke with representatives of organizations that donate or work here, including World Vision, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, UNHCR, and representatives of the Capital City Hall.

The head of the Emergency Department Raed Arafat explained to the heir to the British Crown Romania's actions in the refugee crisis.

"The visit was short, but I think he left with a very positive idea about Romania's response overall and the support of international organizations. (...) He saw our way of handling at individual level, at the level of non-governmental organizations, at the level of local authorities," Raed Arafat explained after the departure of Prince Charles.

The Prince of Wales and Her Majesty Margareta spoke with Ukrainian refugees who fled the horrors of war, as well as with volunteers who support this effort at Romexpo. The center registers more than 1,000 Ukrainian visitors daily, who come here to stock up on basic necessities: food, hygiene products, clothing and footwear, but also for social services and counseling for their stay in Romania.

According to representatives of the Bucharest Social Assistance General Directorate, which runs the Romexpo Donation Center with the support of international and local organizations and volunteers, the number of Ukrainian refugees coming to the center has been rising steadily since the beginning of the war.

More than a million refugees have crossed into Romania from Ukraine since the beginning of the humanitarian crisis on February 24.

According to the British Embassy, His Royal Highness's visit to Romexpo is the latest of a series of engagements Charles has had in recent months in support of the Ukrainian community.

On May 18 the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall met in Ottawa, Canada, with members of the Ukrainian community at the city's Ukrainian Orthodox cathedral, and on March 2 they visited the Ukrainian Cathedral of the Holy Family in London to show their solidarity with the Ukrainian people. AGERPRES

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