Romanian PMWashington D.C., March 25th, 2019 – Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă announced the intention to move the Romanian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington D.C. on Sunday. Together with the announcements of Honduras and Cape Verde to move their embassies to Jerusalem, this marks a major diplomatic victory for the Israeli government just weeks ahead of the national elections on April 9th. The move will be the first by any EU member state and comes at a time when Romania holds the rotating EU Council Presidency. Although the plan to move the embassy has caused friction in Bucharest between the Romanian government and the President of Romania, on Sunday the Prime Minister stated that the government had completed an assessment, “evaluating the opportunity” to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which resulted in a “full consensus” for the decision.

A delegation from the European Coalition for Israel comprising Tomas Sandell, Faith Collins and Emilie Noteboom were in attendance at the conference, along with a total of 18,000 other delegates. In a statement on Sunday, Sandell welcomed the decision which he believed to be the first of many to follow from other EU member states.

“The question in Europe has not been if, but rather when an EU member state would be the first announce its embassy move”, Sandell said.

Just last week Hungary announced the opening of an embassy branch in Jerusalem and in November the Czech Republic opened a cultural centre in Jerusalem “as a first step towards a future embassy move”.

“Romania is to be congratulated on this courageous decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and this reflects the special bond between Romania and Israel over the last 70 years”, Sandell commented. Romania was the only country in the former Eastern Bloc in Europe to have kept its diplomatic relationship with Israel during the Cold War despite pressure from the Kremlin to break off relations. “Romania was courageous then and Romania is courageous now in showing the determination to stand up for its convictions, despite pressure from the European Union which wants to prevent any member state from moving its embassy to Jerusalem before there is a final and comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Since the US announcement on December 6th, 2017, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, only Guatemala has followed the US example. Sunday marked a diplomatic breakthrough when three additional countries, representing three different continents, announced their plans to move their embassies to Jerusalem as the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, and the Prime Minister of Cape Verde, Ulisses Correia e Silva, addressed the conference just ten minutes before the Romanian Prime Minister.

The AIPAC Policy Conference continues in Washington on Monday when US Vice-President Mike Pence is expected to address the conference, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to speak at the closing session on Tuesday morning local time.

On Monday ECI Founding Director Tomas Sandell will speak at a fully booked break-out session on global Christian support for Israel, explaining, among other things, why ECI supports an embassy move to Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem did not become the capital of the State of Israel because the US and now Romania have finally recognized this fact. No other country has been questioned on its right to declare its own capital. Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people already for three millennia and of the State of Israel since 1948. It is also time for the international community to recognize this fact”, he concluded.