Celebration of the 130th anniversary of Banca Naţională a României

Speech by Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the ECB
at the gala event
Bucharest, 5 September 2010

Dear President,

Dear Prime Minister,

Your Excellencies,

Dear Governor Isărescu,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honour and a pleasure for me to be here this evening to address you on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of Banca Naţională a României. I should like to start by thanking my colleague, Governor Isărescu, for inviting me to this event. This is not my first visit to Banca Naţională a României, and I would like to tell you that it is always a real pleasure to be here thanks to the warm welcome extended by the Romanian National Bank.

Banca Naţională a României has good reason to proudly celebrate this historic date: the achievements of the last 130 years have been manifold. The National Bank of Romania, like most other central banks with a long history, did not come into being as the institution we know today. It has evolved over time. Since its establishment in April 1880 it has progressively acquired new functions and duties. Over time it has also established close relationships with the banking and financial system, both at home and at the international level. There are good reasons why the Romanian National Bank has become one of the most respected public institutions in this country.

Over the last 130 years, Banca Naţională a României, like the Romanian nation itself, has been confronted with several major challenges, including the historic events of 1989 and the ensuing economic transition.

The cooperation between the ECB and Banca Naţională a României began well before the actual accession of Romania to the EU. In October 2004, for example, I visited the central bank to meet with Governor Isărescu and the Executive Board. The aim of this visit was to prepare the ground for the future cooperation between the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and the National Bank of Romania in anticipation of the EU membership of Romania. Since then the integration of Banca Naţională a României into the European System of Central Banks has proceeded smoothly, and the work carried out by the central bank’s managers in the respective ESCB committees has been highly appreciated for its dedication and very high standard. Let me take this opportunity to state how important is Central Bank independence, which is called for by the European Union legislation.

There can be no doubt that over the past years the Romanian economy has accomplished significant progress. Yet, as we all know, the economic situation was, and still is, extremely challenging. The Romanian economy, like many others, has been hard hit by the global financial crisis. Its adjustment is supported by a financial agreement of the European Union and the IMF. Indeed, a challenging fiscal, financial and structural adjustment process is called for. I am convinced that this will help to lay the foundations for a sustainable process of further convergence on the part of the Romanian economy. The ECB is closely involved in monitoring this adjustment programme, reflecting its profound interest in Romania and the development of its economy.

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Banca Naţională a României for the conduct of its monetary policy in such difficult circumstances and for its contribution to the financial stability of the country thanks to its sound supervisory policies. I would also like to encourage the Romanian government in implementing the bold decisions that were and are necessary in the domain of economic and financial policies.

But this is no time for complacency in any respect. It remains essential both for Romania and for other economies to pursue the reform process very actively and to pave the way for sustainable macroeconomic developments, including sound fiscal policy, which are so essential in the medium term. There is no substitute for sound and stability-oriented economic policies. That is why I should like to encourage the Romanian authorities to remain ambitious in pursuing sound and stability-oriented economic policies that can bring sustainable economic growth in the medium and long term. This applies, in particular, to the conduct of fiscal policy and to the implementation of timely and consistent structural reforms that support the sustainability of the convergence process. All economic policy actors, without exception, need to be committed to the achievement of this goal.

At the ECB we stand ready to maintain and reinforce our dialogue with Banca Naţională a României, a dialogue that has proven very fruitful in the past. I am confident that our excellent working relationship will continue to serve both our institutions well.

Happy birthday, National Bank of Romania! La mulţi ani Băncii Naţionale a României!

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