British Ambassador speech at the Queen's Birthday Party
11 Jun 2019 01:51 PM
British Ambassador Andrew Noble held a speech at the Queen's Birthday Party 2019 in Bucharest.
30 Years of Freedom
Speech by Ambassador Andrew Noble
Queen´s Birthday Party, 6 June 2019
Welcome to the Queen’s Birthday Party, the anniversary of the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in the 67th year of her reign. Today we have the opportunity to celebrate not only the longest reign in British history, but also the relationship between the United Kingdom and Romania which has flourished in recent years. I’d like to begin with some good news: my speech will be short. But, on the other hand, I also have some bad news: the short speech is going to be next year at the Queen’s Birthday Party 2020 and not this evening!
Standing here today in front of you, I have the impression of a particularly pleasant event in a stunning corner of the city of Bucharest. Last time that I participated at a QBP in Romania, the dominant impression was of an event marked by fear and suspicion for which the guests had had to seek authorisation from Ceausescu’s Securitate to be allowed to participate. This happened in 1986. In the 33 years since then, it seems to me, Ladies and Gentlemen, that this country has changed profoundly and irreversibly.
Recently, we’ve had demonstrated to us of the attachment of the Romanian people everywhere to the rights which they have attained in democracy. Similarly, we have seen that the institutions created in Romania in a short period, following the start of the process of reform in the middle of the 1990s, have been able to withstand pressures and unacceptable interference. I would like to salute in particular those present who have contributed towards the modernisation of Romania in this short period of reform. A few months ago, a Romanian rule of law expert told me that all of the controversies about justice were not a sign of the weakness of the system but, on the contrary, of the strength of the institutions and of the people. I agree that Romanians do not wish to tolerate a return to the days in which invitees to a National Day party had to seek permission from a repressive institution. On the basis of my personal conviction about the durability and quality of the changes that have been won in Romania, I propose that we should regard this party as an opportunity to celebrate the freedom of Romanians in the 30th year following the fall of communism.
Liberty once won has to be defended, of course, in all its forms, from freedom of expression to the freedom to choose and develop in a just and democratic framework. Any strong democracy needs an independent and free press. This year, the British Government is supporting press freedom through a global campaign, an immense undertaking through which we wish to have the rights of journalists defended and respected. I am pleased that the Romanian authorities have already confirmed their participation at a global conference taking place in London in July which we are organising in partnership with the Government of Canada.
In a sense, this party with British and Romanian guests is an eloquent expression of the strategic partnership between our countries which has brought together our national efforts to defend the benefits of our liberal and free societies.
I would like to salute in particular:
- the representatives of our armed forces and of all those involved in protecting our security and who protect us from strategic dangers, from organised crime and terrorism
- I salute the representatives of the companies which have created the bilateral economic and commercial relationship which is growing from year to year. During the course for the preparations for an orderly Brexit, we need this sort of economic relationship to continue to facilitate cooperation
- I salute the non-governmental organisations present here today which have their roots in the United Kingdom and which are working for the benefit of the most disadvantaged amongst us. Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like you all to take the opportunity to visit the pavilion next to us to find out about the activities of British NGOs in Romania. I am proud to say that the organisations present today and many others work unceasingly for the improvement of the lives of the marginalised who have not benefited from the wealth of modern Romania and of those who feel excluded from society
Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s not forget that we are here to celebrate 30 years of freedom in Romania and 67 years of the reign of Her Majesty The Queen. I would therefore like to invite you to enjoy the British dishes on offer and to enjoy yourselves with a spectacular range of music. You are going to hear some pieces by the exceptional Ascendis Choir who have just sung the national anthems with great finesse. After the Ascendis Choir, I am delighted that we have the freedom to receive on the stage a group which demonstrates the extraordinary diversity of the cultural heritage of this country, Taraf de Caliu. Finally, you will be able to hear a selection of British pop music creativity thanks to a performance of the unforgettable group FreeStay.
I would like to thank all of our sponsors and in particular our top sponsors, London Stock Exchange Group and Provident Financial, as well as our hosts, the National Bank of Romania who have received us with great warmth and professionalism and with whom it is a great honour and a pleasure to work.
Finally, let me propose two toasts – I hope you have something in your glasses…
I propose a toast to the health and success of the President, Government and People of Romania!
I propose a toast to the health and success of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II!
Thank you for your attention and now I would like to invite our guests of honour to say a few words.