On 12 January 2016, Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier received his Romanian counterpart, Lazăr Comănescu. The subjects discussed included Romania’s anti-corruption efforts, the present situation in Europe, and the upcoming discussions at the EU level on Romania’s neighbouring country, Moldova.
A great friend of Germany
“We know you are a great friend of Germany.” With these words, Foreign Minister Steinmeier welcomed his Romanian counterpart Comănescu to the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. And this good relationship between the two Governments is underpinned by long-standing close and friendly relations at the social level, as the two countries are bound by close ties through the minority of German descent in Romania and the many Romanian workers in Germany.
Anti-corruption efforts improve the investment climate
This close relationship is reflected in the economic field. Germany is Romania’s number one trading partner, with over 10,000 German companies active in the country between the Balkans and the Black Sea. And there is still potential for improvement: the Government has planned an ambitious reform programme to further enhance the country’s competitiveness and make it more attractive for foreign investment. In this context, Foreign Minister Steinmeier also mentioned the prevention of corruption after his meeting with Comănescu: “We both fully agree that there is a connection between foreign investment and the success of the fight against corruption at home. They go together.” Steinmeier welcomed the fact that progress had been made in this area recently and that the new Government had shown particular ambition to go even further, not least with an eye to the European Commission’s progress reports.
Overcoming Europe’s crises
The two Ministers also discussed the current situation in Europe. Steinmeier said there was currently “at least a three-fold crisis” with the long-term consequences of the financial crisis, the upcoming British EU membership referendum, and the current refugee problem. “We will both work personally to ensure that the crises in Europe can be overcome,” he said after the meeting.
The current situation in Moldova, a direct neighbour of Romania, was also on the agenda. On 18 January, the EU Foreign Ministers will meet in Brussels to discuss how to respond to the current instability there. The previously successful implementation of reforms was at risk, said Steinmeier. As a neighbouring country, Romania is a key interlocutor, emphasised the Minister, thanking his counterpart for his assessment of this issue.