The main topics of the 18 March informal ministerial reunion were diaspora policies, the exchange of good practices and increasing cohesion among countries with a high number of nationals living abroad. The event was co-organised by the Ministry for Romanians Abroad and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in the context of Romania holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The event took place at the Palace Parliament, was presided by Minister for Romanians Abroad, Natalia-Elena Intotero and attended by officials from Lithuania, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Latvia, Poland, Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, as well as representatives of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Minister Delegate for European Affairs, George Ciamba, and Secretary of State Victor Micula.
The delegates congratulated Romania for putting forward the subject of diaspora on the European agenda, during the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. Guests also expressed their hope that this topic will be followed up by upcoming Presidencies. Talks emphasized the unique and essential relationship between diasporas, the European Union and the countries of origin.
The debates focused on ways in which European countries have been able to establish economic and cultural co-operation with diasporas, as well as initiatives to support language and cultural development for nationals living abroad. Delegates also exchanged views on EU best practices to increase cohesion in countries with large diasporas. At the same time, various national diaspora strategies were presented and debated by countries where such programmes exist.
Minister Natalia Elena Intotero reiterated the ground-breaking nature of this EU level event, as well as requisite that the diaspora be a topic on the European agenda.
“For Romania, it is a moment of great importance to host the first ministerial event dedicated to the Diaspora. Given the significant number of Romanians living abroad, but also the many EU citizens who work, study, live in countries other than their countries of origin, we have the responsibility to activate the European mechanisms needed to develop and promote policies to integrate diaspora members, as well as mechanisms to support the return to their countries of origin”, said minister Intotero.