Romania took a step further in its relations with ESA by signing the Accession Agreement to the ESA Convention on 20 January 2011, to become the 19th ESA Member State.
The signing ceremony took place at the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bucharest, with the participation of Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General, Teodor Baconschi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marius-Ioan Piso, President and CEO of the Romanian Space Agency, and cosmonaut Dumitru Dorin Prunariu, Chairman of the Board of the Romanian Space Agency.
Romania has a long aerospace tradition and has contributed to more than 30 scientific and technological space missions. During the 1970s and 1980s, Romania was an active member of the Soviet Unionâ€™s Interkosmos programme to involve fellow socialist nations in space exploration.
Romaniaâ€™s cooperation with ESA is long-standing. In 1992, Romania was one of the first Eastern European countries to sign a Cooperation Agreement in the field of the peaceful use of outer space with ESA, paving the way for Romanian participation in several research projects with other European countries. Cooperation between ESA and Romania was strengthened further in October 1999 with the signing of a five-year Framework Cooperation Agreement, and the signature of the European Cooperating State Agreement in 2006.
Romania has participated in several ESA missions, such as Cluster, Herschel, Planck, SOHO and Gaia with co-investigators, and in Earth Observation activities (EDUSPACE software), microgravity and exploration (SURE) and technology activities (the IAP telemedicine project).
Later this year, the Government of Romania will conclude the ratification process and once the ratification instrument is deposited with the Government of France, Romania will become officially the 19th ESA Member State and will make known its interest in ESAâ€™s optional activities.