Speech held by Mugur Isărescu, NBR Governor, on receiving the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am honoured by the decision of the President of the Republic of Poland, Mr. Bronislaw Komorowski, to confer me the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. I will be grateful if you, Mr. Ambassador, could convey my gratitude to President Komorowski.

This distinction has been awarded in recognition of my contribution to the development of Polish-Romanian cooperation and promotion of the knowledge of our countries’ common history. However, I do believe this distinction is well deserved both by the National Bank of Romania, an institution where I have spent 22 years of my career, serving my country, and by my forerunners at the central bank and their efforts made in order to help the Polish people save their treasures, back in 1939.

Last September we successfully organized, together with the Polish Embassy and the National Bank of Poland, a symposium dedicated to saving the Polish gold during the Second World War. The treasures of Poland left in September 1939 the invaded country hurriedly, passing through Romania, free of any charge. It continued its adventurous journey until it reached safety. A small part of the Polish gold stayed in the vaults of the National Bank of Romania until 1947, when it was returned to the Polish people. Having in mind the end of the adventure of the Polish gold in 1939, namely its repatriation one could not but make a connection with the history of the gold of the National Bank of Romania.

This is an association which may show how surprising history could be sometimes. In December 1916, during the First World War, Romania sent its gold towards Moscow, to an ally country, far away from the frontline, passing through a territory that was outstandingly more friendly than the one transited by the Polish gold in 1939. And yet it was not returned, even after almost 100 years.

Let me stop here and thank again the President of Poland for this distinction. Please allow me to also thank His Excellency Marek Szczygiel, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, a good friend of Romania and of the National Bank and to his colleagues for this warm welcome and, nevertheless, for this ceremony organized here, at the Embassy. Thank you all for being here.

Mugur Isărescu