Romania’s EU accession this year brought the Union the geostrategic gain of neighboring the Black Sea, while Romania is a provider of security for the Union, not a consumer, President Traian Basescu said in a speech before the European Parliament on Wednesday. It was his first speech in the EP after the country joined the Union on January 1.

Basescu welcomed MEPs’ support to Romania from the very beginning, but said the real challenge for the country is further integration with the rest of Europe, not the actual accession.

The head of state presented the position of Romania on a series of issues of interest for the European Parliament and for the German Presidency of the EU. On regional affairs, he said 2007 would be the year of truth for Western Balkans and Kosovo as Europeans must tackle regional problems, from fighting crime to bringing Serbia closer to the EU, in a unitary manner.

And the Moldovan Republic, which border Romania in the East, must return to Europe which it left without will in 1940, he said, adding that Romania would press Europe in this regard. Basescu said 2007 must also bring solutions to frozen conflicts in this part of the world.

He also reminded MEPs that Romania goes through its seventh year of economic growth above the EU average and that the country more optimism to the Union as 68% of Romanians supported the accession.

And he said Romania would support moves for the revival of the European constitutional treaty and for a common energy policy.