The speech of His Majesty King Michael I
Before a joint assembly of the Chambers of the Parliament of Romania,
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies,
It has been more than sixty years since I last addressed the Romanian nation from the podium of Parliament. It was with joy and hope that I accepted this invitation from the nation’s legitimate representatives.
Our first duty today is to remember all those who died for our independence and freedoms in all the wars in which we have had to fight, and in the events of December 1989, which demolished the communist dictatorship. We can have no future unless we respect our past.
I hope you will agree with me that our first duty today is to remember all those who died for our independence and freedoms, in all the wars which were imposed on us, and in the revolution which toppled the communist dictatorship. We do not have a future without respecting our past.
The last twenty years have brought democracy, freedom and the beginnings of prosperity. People are able to travel, to fulfil their dreams, and to consolidate their families and lives for the benefit of future generations. Romania has evolved greatly in the last two decades.
Fundamental to Romania’s present European direction is the existence of Parliament. Our irreversible path to the European Union and NATO would not have been possible if the Romanian Legislature had not been able to act in freedom and democracy after 1989.
But politics is a two-edged sword. It guarantees democracy and freedoms, if it is practised with respect for the law and the institutions of state. But politics can also harm the citizen if it is exercised in contempt of ethics, if it personalises power and disregards the fundamental purpose of the institutions of state.
In many areas of Romanian life, where these have been managed competently and freely, people have managed to move forward in spite of the economic crisis: small entrepreneurs and medium-sized companies; young people; university, college and school teachers; and those in agriculture.
People in the arts, the military, diplomats, and civil servants strive to do their duty, although they are sorely tested by lack of money and institutional discouragement. Institutions such as the Romanian Academy and the National bank do their duty to the nation although the present times do not pay the respect that is due to the hierarchy of values in Romanian society.
It saddens me that two decades after the return to democracy, the old and the sick are forced to endure humiliating situations.
Romania needs an infrastructure. Modern motorways, ports and airports are part of our strength as an independent state. Agriculture is a sector that belongs not to the historical past, but to the future. Education, too, will be a cornerstone of society.
The Queen and I, along with our Family, shall continue to do what we have always done: we shall sustain Romania’s fundamental interests and our country’s continuity and traditions.
I cannot address the nation without speaking about the Royal Family and its importance in the life of the nation. The Royal Crown is not a symbol of the past, but a unique embodiment of our independence, sovereignty and unity. The Crown is a reflection of the State in its historical continuity and of the Nation in its evolution. The Crown has consolidated Romania through loyalty, courage, respect, probity and modesty.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies,
Democratic institutions are not governed by laws alone, but also by ethics and a sense of duty. Love of one’s country and competence are the principal criteria in public life. May you trust in democracy, in the purpose of the institutions of state, and in the rules of those institutions!
The world of tomorrow cannot exist without morality, faith, or memory. Cynicism, narrow interest, and cowardice must not lay claim to our lives. Romania has moved forward thanks to the ideals that the great men in our history served responsibly and generously.
In 1989, authoritative voices from all four corners of the globe spoke up in Romania’s aid. They joined with the sacrifice made by the young in deposing a tyranny whose effects on the nation’s essence were so destructive. Twenty years later, the moment has come for our public conduct to sever itself completely and definitively from the vices of the past. There is no place for demagogy, dissimulation, primitive selfishness, clinging to power, and personal interest in the Romanian institutions of the year 2011. These are things that are too reminiscent of the years before 1989.
It is fitting that we should weather the present and prepare for the future. United among ourselves and with our neighbours and brothers, let us continue the effort to become dignified and respected once more.
I have served the Romanian nation throughout a life that has been long and full of events, some of them happy, many of them unhappy. Eighty-four years since I became King, I can say without hesitation to the Romanian nation:
After freedom and democracy, the most important things to be gained are identity and dignity. Here a major responsibility rests upon the Romanian elite.
Democracy should enrich the art of governance, not impoverish it. The same as all the countries of Europe, Romania needs respected and skilled rulers.
We should never forget the Romanians and the Romanian lands that were taken from us as a result of Europe being divided into spheres of influence. It is their right to decide whether they want to live in our country or whether they want to remain separate. Europe today is a continent in which peoples and lands do not change as a result of decisions made by politicians. I took an oath and it remains valid for all Romanians. They are all part of our nation and so they will remain forever.
It lies solely in our power to make this country stable, prosperous, and admired in the rest of the world.
I see today’s Romania not as an inheritance from our parents, but as a country we have received on loan from our children.
So help us God!