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At the 34th meeting of the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies (CoD) on Wednesday, Romania's Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu mentioned that amidst an amplification of threats to democratic values, as a result of the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of hybrid means, it is necessary to streamline multilateralism, ensure norm-based international order, and strengthen democracies.

Also addressing the meeting moderated by Aurescu as part of the events hosted by the Romanian Presidency of the CoD, were CoD Secretary General Thomas E. Garrett, and Director and Secretary of the European Commission for Democracy through Law - the Venice Commission Simona Granata-Menghini, at the invitation of the Romanian Presidency.

According to the Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE), Aurescu pointed out that by adopting the Bucharest Ministerial Declaration, at the 10th Ministerial meeting in September 2021, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, CoD expressed its determination to defend and uphold its community of democratic values and also to promote its pragmatic aim to consolidate democratic resilience.

At the same time, Aurescu reiterated his strong belief that it is high time that the CoD came forward more often and more visible, and that it needs to call out and sanction any attempt of hijacking democratic processes in partner and emerging democracies.

Aurescu mentioned the relevance of the CoD actions in support of the defence of human rights, mentioning the statements adopted by the member states of the Governing Council, such as those on Myanmar, last February, or on Cuba, in November 2021, including the reactions of the CoD secretary general to democratic drifts in Mali, Belarus, and Sudan.

He gave reassurances that Romania remains determined to prevent and combat all negative phenomena undermining democratic trust, saying that he hopes the results of Romania's 2019-2022 Presidency of the Community of Democracies reflect its resolve to play an active role in this respect.

The head of Romanian diplomacy also highlighted the importance given by Romania during its CoD Presidency term of office to youth empowerment and engagement in democratic processes, announcing that Romania will support this year the CoD Youth Forum that adds up to the previous editions of 2020 and 2021.

Aurescu also reiterated Romania's full commitment to continuing the CoD's leadership priorities, including the promotion of gender equality and the role of technology in democratic processes.

The minister reaffirmed Romania's commitment to continuing, in its capacity as CoD president, to promote the CoD objectives, values, and principles.

According to MAE, the Venice Commission's Granata-Menghini gave a presentation called "Constitutional reforms - complex and challenging processes for ensuring the institutional architecture of any democracy."

Romania hosts on Wednesday and Thursday, in a VTC format, the 34th meeting of the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies (CoD). This is the fourth meeting under the Romanian Presidency.

Romania holds the Presidency of the Community of Democracies between September 2019 and September 2022. Romania's mandate to lead the CoD, which started on September 15, 2019 and was initially held 2019-2021, was extended on May 18, 2021, under exceptional circumstances as a result of the need to ensure continuity and efficient management of CoD activities, including the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic had affected the timing and format of some of the organisation's activities.

According to MAE, by taking over the presidency, Romania signified its strong commitment to promoting and consolidating democratic values, while the confidence that Romania has enjoyed from CoD proves the recognition of Romania's constant efforts to support the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms. Romania's main objectives as holder of the CoD Presidency are, inter alia, to facilitate youth engagement in democratic processes, to promote democracy globally as the only system that guarantees prosperity and sustainable development, as well as the relationship between democratic processes and information technology.

On September 22, 2021, on the sidelines of the high-level segment of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Aurescu hosted the tenth CoD Ministerial Conference, the most important event of each CoD Presidency, attended by over 50 high-level speakers.

The Romanian CoD Presidency has actively promoted the role this global platform can play in the Summit for Democracy organised by the US Administration. AGERPRES (RO - author: Livia Popescu, editor: Florin Marin; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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