Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson met his Romanian counterpart Teodor Baconschi in Bucharest yesterday, suggesting geothermal energy projects in the country and closer cooperation between Iceland and Romania.
Össur (left) and Baconschi in Bucharest. Courtesy of the Icelandic Foreign Ministry.
During his official visit, Össur also met President of the Romanian parliament Petru Filip and Romanian Minister of European Affairs Leonard Orban, as stated in a press release from the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Össur suggested using funds from the EFTA Development Fund, to which Iceland is party, to launch geothermal energy projects in Romania; in the western part of the country there are territories suitable for establishing heating utilities. Baconschi said he supported such projects.
The National Energy Authority of Iceland and the Icelandic engineering firm Mannvit have expressed their interest in participating in harnessing geothermal energy in Romania and are currently in talks with Romanian authorities to that regard.
The ministers agreed that trade between Iceland and Romania should be increased and discussed ideas on a convention for startups.
Baconschi declared his interest in learning more about the Icelandic welfare system and the nation’s achievements in gender equality.
The position of Iceland’s membership application to the European Union was also up for discussion and Romania pledged full support for Iceland.
Össur announced to Baconschi that as of January 1, 2012, the limitations to open immigration from Romania to Iceland on the basis of the EEA agreement were lifted as in most other European countries.
The minister also declared his support for Romania’s participation in the Schengen agreement and in the work of OECD.
Overall, both Icelandic and Romanian officials are interested in strengthening the relations between the two countries.