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Transatlantic Relations - Partnership in Leadership
Ambassador William R. Timken, Jr.
Atlantik-Brücke Annual Meeting
Berlin, July 2, 2007


As prepared for delivery.

Dr. Enders, Dr. Kiep, Dr. Lindemann, Friends and members of the Atlantik-Brücke,

Thank you very much for the invitation to address your annual membership meeting. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff and members of the Atlantik-Brücke once again for their ongoing initiative and commitment to the transatlantic partnership.

Last month you honored Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for her role in German reunification. In her remarks at the Warburg Prize Ceremony in Potsdam, Secretary Rice recalled some of the historic decisions that led to the building of a Europe, whole, free and at peace. She described how the historic events at the end of the Cold War realigned the foundation of the German-American partnership. When President George H. W. Bush visited Germany in May 1989, he described the German-American relationship as a partnership in leadership. As the President said at the time, and I quote, “Leadership has a constant companion: responsibility. Our responsibility is to look ahead and grasp the promise of the future." Unquote.

I believe we are doing just that.

Germany's presidencies of the European Union Council and of the G8 came at a critical time for the international community. Chancellor Merkel put forward an ambitious agenda for both these leadership roles. Under her leadership, significant progress was made on a number of key issues. Chancellor Merkel and President Bush share a strong personal relationship. I have been present at most of their meetings. The tone of their conversations is open, constructive and proactive. They agree on core concepts and strategies. This has had a positive effect on the tone of both bilateral and multilateral discussions.

We have got real results to show for our combined efforts – at both the G8 and U.S. levels. But our work is cut out for us.

Climate Change

In her role as President of the G8, Chancellor Merkel did a remarkable job of establishing consensus on international climate change initiatives. The G8 leaders called on the countries that are heavy users of energy and emitters of greenhouse gases – that includes emerging economies, such as India, China, and Brazil – to establish by the end of 2008 a framework for dealing with emission reduction. This would serve as a basis for establishing, by the end of 2009, long-term goals within the context of a broad UN-led global agreement that would replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.

There was one underlying theme to all the discussions. Climate change can only be addressed as part of a broader agenda, which must include energy security, economic growth and sustainable development. President Bush and Chancellor Merkel agree that the bottom line in any energy debate is the need to diversify our energy supplies in a cost-effective, environmentally responsible manner. That has certainly been the thrust of climate change initiatives in the United States since 2000. As a result, we reduced the greenhouse gas intensity of the U.S. economy between 2000 and 2004 by 7.5 percent while still growing both our economy and our population.

When I spoke to you in February, I mentioned our cooperation on clean coal initiatives in China. On the transatlantic side, we are seeing deeper cooperation on research and development, as well as increased investment. Next week I will be joining Environment Minister Gabriel at the opening of a U.S. solar energy plant in Frankfurt/Oder.


Development cooperation is another important issue on the international agenda. This year, following up on the Gleneagles Summit in 2005, the G8 leaders agreed on a core set of development principles to allow donors to better coordinate and focus assistance. They also stood by their commitments to considerably increase their official development assistance.
Since President Bush took office, the United States has more than doubled U.S. development spending. It is up from $10 billion in 2000 to $23 billion in 2006. That's the largest increase in development assistance since the Marshall Plan. The United States gives more official development assistance than any other donor country. The United States is also the world leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Last month we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan. What we said then about development is still true today. “It’s not about us,” Secretary Marshall said, “It’s about them. It’s about empowering them, supporting their ideas, and providing the right tools — and appropriate incentives — to support their leadership and responsibility to sustain further progress on their own.” We were happy to see this kind of focus surface in the G8 discussions.

Doha Round – Trade and Investment

The emphasis on development issues goes hand in hand with a balanced Doha development agenda agreement. People need jobs not handouts. More jobs -- and better jobs -- go hand in hand with increased trade.

The G8 called on all WTO members to demonstrate the flexibility needed to conclude the Doha Round negotiations by the end of 2007. After the G8 meeting in Heiligendamm, a so-called G4 meeting which includes the United States, the European Union, Brazil and India convened in Potsdam to try to resolve the differences that led to the suspension of talks last year. Some progress was made on agricultural issues but unfortunately not on the important issues of trade and manufacturing goods or trade in services.

We were very disappointed when the Brazilian and Indian delegations walked away from the negotiating table. Both the United States and the EU made good faith efforts to find convergence. Negotiations continue in Geneva. The United States is not giving up on the Doha Round because we still believe that the Doha Round has the potential to generate the economic growth and job creation that can lift people out of poverty.


The creation and maintenance of stable governments and healthy civil societies is one of the most effective tools we have to combat terrorism and extremism. By the same token, terrorism threatens the rights of people everywhere to live in peaceful, secure communities. The vast majority of the victims of terrorism are civilians. Terrorists target workers essential to a civil society – police, government leaders, teachers, journalists. What’s even more tragic is that in 2006, more than 1,800 children were killed or injured in terrorist attacks.

In Heiligendamm, the G8 leaders discussed forward looking strategies on how to counter the threat of terrorism. They agreed to strengthen efforts to combat terrorist financing. They supported a prominent role of the UN in combating terrorism and called for the rapid conclusion of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. They also agreed to work with other stakeholders on a comprehensive economic strategy for development in the area along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border which has become a refuge for al-Qaida terrorists.

We have been successful in reducing terrorist operational capabilities thanks to enhanced information-sharing among our partners and numerous other security and development assistance initiatives – especially with our EU partners.

Economic Achievements

It’s at the U.S.-EU level that the most progress in terms of real results has been made. The German presidency, guided by Chancellor Merkel's commitment to strengthen and reinvigorate the transatlantic relationship, provided the perfect momentum.

At the 2005 Washington Summit, we laid out a detailed vision of what a renewed partnership should encompass, in the areas of the economy, as well as foreign policy and security. At the U.S.-EU summit in Washington in April, we saw that many of those goals have been achieved. Still, much work remains to be done.

One of the main achievements of the US-EU summit was the agreement between the United States and the European Union to expand economic ties by cutting regulatory barriers to trade and investment. The new framework for economic integration accomplished one of Chancellor Merkel’s main goals. The agreement will make sure that the transatlantic relationship figures high in the EU beyond the German 2007 Presidency.
We are particularly pleased with the strengthening of cooperation on regulatory cooperation. Last week the co-chairs of the new Trans-Atlantic Economic Council met with Chancellor Merkel here in Berlin to discuss practical ways of moving forward. This transatlantic effort will run parallel with the EU's new "Better Regulation" initiative.

An Air Transport Agreement creating an "Open Skies" environment for the whole of the US and EU was also signed at the summit in April. The European Commission has estimated that the agreement will generate about $15 billion in consumer benefits and 80,000 jobs over the first five years in Europe alone.

Foreign Policy Achievements

On foreign policy issues, we have invigorated the Middle East Roadmap. Secretary Rice attended a number of Quartet meetings in Berlin following her trips to the Middle East.

Together – and in close cooperation with our European allies -- we are also addressing critical situations in Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia, and of course, in Afghanistan.

NATO’s largest and most challenging mission, Afghanistan, says a lot about NATO today. Thirty seven countries – 26 allies and 11 non-NATO partners – participate in NATO’s UN-mandated ISAF or International Security Assistance Force. With more than 3,000 Bundeswehr soldiers deployed, Germany is the third largest contributor to the ISAF mission. The deployment of German Air Force Tornados to Afghanistan has given ISAF a significant reconnaissance capability.

The tools that NATO needs to succeed in Afghanistan – expeditionary capability, counter-insurgency capacity, and, most important, an ability to combine security with governance and development – define the directions NATO will go in the future.
The ongoing discussions about missile defense systems highlight the radical changes in the security environment of the 21st century. There is increasing consensus that defensive systems are a legitimate answer to the problem of ballistic missile proliferation in an age of rogue states and terrorism. World leaders must protect their civilian populations.

We have reassured Russia that the proposed system does not pose a potential threat to their country. At the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, President Bush and President Putin had a very constructive discussion on the topic. President Putin recognized the potential threat of Iranian missiles to Russia, Europe, and the United States. He went one step further with a proposal on how Russia might make a contribution to a missile defense system. As we speak, President Bush and President Putin are continuing their discussions in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The United States is also in close consultation with NATO on the topic of missile defense. At recent talks in Brussels, NATO defense ministers discussed the possibility of complementing the U.S. shield with NATO elements as well as Russian partnering options. An expanded strategic dialogue to give experts from the United States, other NATO countries, and Russia the opportunity to start talking about ways and means ahead has only just begun.

The Way Forward

These are just a few examples of the enormous common agenda ahead of us. It is clear that we need to focus on the future, not the past.

Europe itself is undergoing dramatic change. The question of Kosovo's independence needs to be dealt with. Turkey's potential membership in the European Union is unresolved. The relationship with Russia is complex, to say the least. Individual countries face demographic and economic challenges. The attacks in Madrid and London are reminders that terrorism is a threat at home, not just in far-flung corners of the world.

Finally, Europe is remaking itself as a union of 27 member states. It is finding a way to speak with one voice on matters of security.

We applaud the progress that Chancellor Merkel made during the German presidency on the important issues of EU institutional reform. The United States supports and needs a strong Europe. Alone, we simply cannot tackle huge transnational challenges like terrorism, economic development, disease, climate change, energy security, or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The world has no place else to turn to for solutions. We simply cannot walk away from our responsibilities -- to the citizens of our countries and the world at large. The future does indeed hold great promise and as George Bush Senior said, it is our responsibility to show leadership on these complex issues.

All of the multilateral initiatives I have discussed today have bilateral implications. They require a deepening of the practical partnership between U.S. and Germany. We will need to bring in new players for new tasks.

I know we can count on the Atlantik-Brücke to help us broaden the network of stakeholders in the German-American partnership.

Thank you.

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Updated: June 2008