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Congress-Bundestag Forum
Ambassador William R. Timken, Jr.
Berlin, July 5, 2007



As prepared for delivery.

Mr. Berg, Mr. Kennedy, Members of the German Parliament, Members of Congress, a special welcome to you. On behalf of the Embassy, I would like to thank you all for participating in this program. A strong network of policymakers, researchers, journalists, nonprofit leaders, and business leaders is one of the cornerstones of trans-Atlantic partnership. We appreciate the initiative and commitment of the board, the staff, and the members of the German Marshall Fund and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. Over the years, your organizations have been instrumental in building that network of people and organizations. In many ways, the programs and discussions held under the auspices of your organizations are barometers of the important issues that drive both the bilateral and the trans-Atlantic relationship.

Today a few days after the end of the German presidency of the EU and looking back at the G8 Summit and all the meetings that preceded it, I believe that the bilateral relationship is in excellent shape. Chancellor Merkel put forward an ambitious agenda for both the G8 and EU presidencies. Under her leadership, significant progress was made in establishing ways to achieve results in the international political arena.

At the G8 level, we have committed to an accelerated process, coordinated with the UN, to reduce the emissions that contribute to global warming. The G8 leaders registered their concern about the gravity of the global warming problem but they also demonstrated a refreshing realism regarding greenhouse-gas reduction. They recognized that a one-size fits all approach to combating climate change won't work, but that we are all committed to the common goal of limiting greenhouse gas emissions. On the bilateral level, the Chancellor’s own proposals and the President's initiatives on energy and the environment mesh. We are working together on the development of new energy technologies that will help combat global warming, increase our energy security, and promote jobs and economic growth. Both of our countries are leaders in the development and promotion of environmental technology. This can have important effects for our own domestic economies and global energy production.

Next week, I will join the German Environmental Minister at the opening of a new state-of-the-art solar cell production plant in a city in the eastern part of Germany. The company is American -- First Solar. The technology was developed in cooperation with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The plant was built in coordination with the German federal, state and local governments in addition to the European Commission. As a result, jobs are being created in a part of Germany that desperately needs them. Most important: solar energy and technology is moving mainstream.

From renewable energy sources to energy efficiency to nuclear power, the G8 leaders recognized the fact that numerous complementary steps can help reduce emissions. Each country needs to demonstrate that it takes global warming seriously by adopting policies that encourage conservation, the production of clean energy, and the reduction of carbon emissions – in the short, medium and long term. That includes rapidly expanding economies like China and India. Real progress on global warming can only be made if all players participate in the effort. Climate change can only be addressed as part of a broader agenda which must also include energy security, economic growth and sustainable development.

Every time there is a G8 summit, there are always discussions on who is doing what with regard to Official Development Assistance. For the record, let me say that the U.S. is well on its way to meeting the target for doubling bilateral aid to Africa between 2004 and 2010 that was made at the G8 Gleneagles summit. In 2002 at the Monterey summit, the President committed to increase ODA by 50 percent by 2006. We met that almost three years early. 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. 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. These vastly increased resources for development aid have been matched with a renewed focus on performance, accountability, and sustainability.

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 United States and the EU made a good faith effort to negotiate at the so-called G4 level with Brazil and India earlier this month in Potsdam. We were disappointed when Brazil and India left the negotiating table but we are not giving up on the Doha Round. We believe it can still be completed this year. Negotiations are continuing in Geneva among a broader range of countries.

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. In the last few days, terrorist actions in the UK have reminded us that Jihadist extremist terrorists are trying to slaughter our civilian populations to destroy our existing societies. We have, however, 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. The first responsibility of every government is the security of its citizens.

It's at the U.S.-EU level that the most progress in terms of real results has been made. 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 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 and any changes in national administrations and the European Commission.

Last week the co-chairs of the new Trans-Atlantic Economic Council and I met with Chancellor Merkel here in Berlin to discuss practical ways of moving forward on regulatory cooperation. As Al Hubbard, the U.S chair said, the formation of the council has already borne the first fruits. U.S. securities regulators have agreed to stop requiring foreign companies to use U.S. accounting rules.

On foreign policy issues, the United States and the EU have reinvigorated the Middle East Roadmap. Together – and in close cooperation with NATO -- we are addressing critical situations in Kosovo, the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Somalia.

NATO's largest and most challenging mission, Afghanistan, says a lot about NATO today. Consolidation of a stable, democratic Afghanistan is a critical national interest for all allies. It is in Afghanistan that the alliance faces the greatest test of the moment. Afghanistan is NATO's most important military operation. It is an American and European joint venture with 37 countries involved.

Our alliance is indeed being tested in ways that its founders -- and most of us here today -- would have found almost unbelievable even just a few years ago. We should not forget that we saw what seemed impossible happen in Germany. When President George H. W. Bush visited Germany in May 1989, as the Cold War structures were beginning to crumble, 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." Together Americans and Europeans are working together to do just that. Our goal is to make the world more just, more free, more prosperous, and more peaceful. That is the vital challenge for our times.

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Updated: June 2008