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Meeting global challenges: Strengthening the Transatlantic Partnership
Senior Vice President Dan Christman,
Distinguished members and guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me here today to share with you my thoughts on strengthening the Transatlantic Partnership – a subject close to my heart.
Why? Because we share common basic values - freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
Because our economies are more interdependent than any others.
Because the global challenges of tomorrow can only be met through cooperation today between the United States and Europe.
We have a joint obligation to work for our core values worldwide.
We have a mutual interest in expanding trade and investment.
Therefore, we should strengthen the links across the Atlantic.
So, how do we strengthen our partnership? I believe it is best achieved by increased integration of our economies. And a deepening of our political cooperation.
In this age of globalization we all need friends. Even the greatest of superpowers cannot afford to stand alone. A strengthened transatlantic partnership is therefore both natural and necessary.
And Europe is on the move. Already strong on the economic stage, Europe is rapidly becoming a key player in the field of foreign policy.
The United States need look no further for a strong global partner.
The new Treaty of the European Union, the Lisbon Treaty, will enhance Europe’s ability to speak with one voice on the global scene. Europe will then have one foreign representative. With a strong mandate to coordinate Europe’s external policies – from trade and aid to diplomacy.
And remember, in less than five years the European Union has grown from 15 to 27 member states. Europe has been healed. Europe - once divided - has become one.
The peoples of Central and Eastern Europe share our strong values of freedom and democracy. And they have strong reasons to appreciate these values. Their spirit is a great stimulus to European – and Transatlantic – integration.
Yes, the Balkan challenge still remains. But the direction is set. And we will achieve our goal of one, undivided Europe.
In short, the United States and Europe are natural partners. We need the United States. You need us. A strengthened Transatlantic Partnership is both natural and necessary.
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There are three key areas where a Transatlantic Partnership is needed: trade, energy and security.
First on trade. Our economies are already more interdependent than any others. Europe and the United States are each other’s main trading partner and investor.
We both face the same challenge of securing continuous economic growth. Globalization is a fact. And a great opportunity. For the United States and Europe, the path to follow is increased mutual trade and investments, not protectionism and distortion of free markets.
We already enjoy close economic ties. The existing transatlantic integration is estimated to have created almost 14 million jobs. But the actual potential is far higher.
Unfortunately, significant barriers to trade still remain. A prime example is the differing regulatory norms and standards in the United States and Europe. So how do we eliminate these and other barriers? How do we realize the true potential of transatlantic trade?
Let us start by looking at Europe. Here we have been successful in creating a free internal market. Trade barriers have been dismantled. The result is an increase in the competitiveness and sustainability of European companies.
Why not extend this positive lesson from Europe? Create a Transatlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA). My vision is of a genuine Transatlantic Marketplace where all barriers to trade and investments have been eliminated. Allowing free movement of goods, services and investments.
TAFTA would have a huge economic impact. Stimulating innovation. Stimulating growth. Stimulating employment.
In fact, the OECD estimates that a Transatlantic Free Trade Area could lead to a permanent increase of 3.5 per cent in the GDP per capita in both the United States and Europe.
And, importantly, it would strengthen and develop the already-close ties between our peoples.
The road to TAFTA may well be rocky. For a start, technical barriers to trade would have to be eliminated through harmonization and mutual recognition. And then, customs tariffs would also have to go. Let’s get rid of these custodians of protectionism. Also customs procedures have to be simplified. And the sensitive and controversial issue of agricultural policy should once and for all be settled. With the aim of full liberalization.
At the same time TAFTA should, of course, pay attention to consumer interests. And ensure high standards for the protection of health, security and the environment.
TAFTA would benefit our citizens and enhance our mutual ties. Together, the United States and Europe could take on the challenges of globalization. Together we can create a market of close to one billion consumers.
Don’t get me wrong. TAFTA is not an alternative to the multilateral trade negotiations taking place in the WTO. Indeed, a successful conclusion to the present Doha Round is called for. And remains a top priority. A global free trade system is extremely important. It can lift millions of people out of poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
A Transatlantic Free Trade Area should therefore be consistent with the multilateral trade agreements. Indeed, it may even serve as an important catalyst for global free trade.
The vision of TAFTA can only be realized by a pragmatic approach. Our main point of departure must be the trade barriers confronting our companies. The United States and Europe must engage in dialogue aimed at ambitious, but realistic, deliverables within specific areas.
The newly-created Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) could serve as an important forum in bringing this vision forward.
The United States and Europe already have a unique and privileged economic partnership. Let us go one step further. Let us work towards the creation of a genuine Transatlantic Free Trade Area.
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Secondly on energy and climate. Trade is not our only matter of mutual concern. We may not be able to control nature. But we can do our best to protect it. Take Greenland for example. A wonderful and fascinating part of my country. The land of ice and snow. Melting ice and snow.
Last summer I visited the small town of Ilulissat on the Greenlandic west coast. Together with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Commission President José Manuel Barroso,
In Ilulissat the ice cap has withdrawn 15 kilometers during only a few years. A clear indication that something is happening to our global climate.
You, in the United States, have also been witness to dramatic effects of climate upheaval. Who could forget the devastating effect of hurricane Katrina on New Orleans?
I sincerely believe that we must take climate change – and its effects – very seriously indeed. And that global climate change requires a global solution.
That is why Denmark has offered to host the global climate change conference in Copenhagen in 2009.
One thing is clear: If we are to tackle climate change we will need to cut green house gas emissions. We must reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.
There is one more essential reason why we need to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels: security.
Both the United States and most European countries rely heavily on imported oil and gas. Often from unstable countries and regions ruled by dubious regimes with questionable ideas of freedom and democracy. We then become vulnerable when these regimes use their oil exports as a foreign policy tool. By curbing our dependency on fossil fuel imports, we will become more robust and less exposed to the whims of others.
To quote President Bush from 2006: “America is addicted to oil”. A direct statement indeed. It spelled out the challenge facing us all. A transatlantic challenge where joint action is needed.
I agree with President Bush that the best way to break this addiction is through technology. We need a new industrial revolution based on climate-friendly technologies. A new green industrial revolution. A new green global economy.
The challenge is to reduce our fossil fuel consumption while maintaining economic growth and prosperity. For developing countries because they have a right to fight poverty by increasing their economic growth. For industrialized countries because only continued economic growth will give us resources and technology to combat climate change.
We need to make a transition to a low-carbon economy. It is a daunting challenge. But not impossible.
For years the economic dogma has been that fighting climate change comes at a cost. That you have to choose between economic growth and combating climate change. I disagree. By combating climate change the smart way we can help our environment, create growth and jobs and meet the challenges of energy security.
In Europe, energy policies have spun off new technologies, improved energy efficiency and led to new opportunities for economic growth.
From 1980 to 2005 Denmark enjoyed approximately 70 per cent economic growth with hardly any increase in its energy consumption. Energy technology is now a major part of our economy and makes up 8 per cent of our exports. This export has tripled in ten years. In the years to come those with low carbon economies will be the ones to thrive and create new jobs and industries.
In Europe, we have taken action. In March 2007, we agreed that by 2020 emissions will be cut by 30 per cent. We took the initiative. We hope and believe that others will follow.
No-one is exempt from climate change. And no-one can solve the problem alone. We all, including the United States, have a lot to gain if we act now. Together.
Today, the United States have one of the world’s highest CO2 emissions per capita. This gives you a special responsibility. But I believe that the American people are well-aware of this responsibility. And the challenge it creates.
With its track record on innovation and market driven research your country could contribute - and gain - substantially from the development of new energy technologies and a global emission trading system.
We need the United States as an active partner in the fight against climate change. We need your green technologies. We need you as part of a market-oriented, cost-efficient system to reduce emissions and spur the development of new technologies.
In short: We need US leadership on climate. We have all heard the call. We must live up to our responsibilities. And we must show the way for large, emerging economies such as China and India. All parties need to contribute. The Major Economies initiative taken by the US is a first step that can stimulate further negotiations within the UN process.
As host of the 2009 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen it is my hope, and ambition, to conclude a new global agreement.
That is the challenge as I see it. I hope for your full support.
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Finally, let me turn to our common security. We are faced with a new threat – international terrorism. The brutal attack on the United States on September 11th 2001 unveiled an enemy who is fanatic and shows no mercy. Who despises liberty and democracy. Who aims to impose their violent rule on millions of people.
The free world must stand united in the fight against terror, tyranny and oppression – and for freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
There are other examples in history of tyrants using violence to impose their ideology upon others. Nazi Germany and a fascist regime in Japan in World War II followed by the communist Soviet Union. But the authoritarian regimes collapsed – not least thanks to American strength and determination. The beaches in Normandy pay witness to the incredible human sacrifices of the United Stated to rescue Europe from Nazism.
Today, Germany and Japan are strong and vivid democracies. And strong allies of the United States and other free societies. The Soviet Union and the Warzaw Pact have collapsed. Europe has been united, the former communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe are flourishing democracies and the European Union the foundation for peaceful cooperation.
History has taught us that the world of free nations must stand united in the fight for democracy and against dictatorship.
That is why we are engaged in Afghanistan. We cannot allow Afghanistan once again to become a safe haven for terrorists. A strong military engagement is needed to ensure security that will allow Afghanistan to prosper and develop.
Security and development must go hand in hand. We must help the Afghan people help themselves. As the United States did in Europe through the Marshall Plan some sixty years ago. Our vision is a stable, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan – a strong allied in our fight against the tyrants of today.
The same goes for Iraq. An oppressive regime has been removed. The aim is to create security and help stabilize a young democracy. And to ensure economic development. Again, our vision is a democratic Iraq that will become a strong allied in our endeavors to advance liberty and democracy.
There are sceptics who call this vision unrealistic. Who claims that some people are not fit for democracy. I simply disagree. The urge for freedom is inherited in all human beings. It is universal. Millions of Afghanis and Iraqis went to the polls in their first free elections. They defied the terrorists. They voted for democracy and against dictatorship.
It may take years to develop a true democracy. There will be obstacles on the way. But Germany and Japan serve as good examples. History shows that democracy – not dictatorships – will prevail. That liberty – not oppression – will prevail. Freedom is a fundamental part of being an individual. And therefore one of the strongest forces on Earth.
But freedom and democracy must not be taken for granted. Each and every day we must stand up for freedom and defend it against opponents.
Next year we celebrate that 60 years ago the United States, Canada and Western European countries formed a strong alliance – NATO. For 60 years, NATO has been the framework for transatlantic cooperation on security and defence. I would even say that NATO has been the most successful peace-movement the world has known.
In the years to come the European Union will further strengthen its ability to promote international peace and security. By strengthening the European Security and Defence Policy the EU will become a stronger and more capable partner to the US.
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The United States and Europe are core partners and allies. But the ultimate goal is not to engage in an exclusive transatlantic cooperation.
Our common values and interests are not confined to a certain geographic area. They are widely shared with other democracies and peoples throughout the world.
We have an obligation to reach out to such like-minded partners. By being strong global players ourselves, the United States and Europe are in a favorable position to facilitate a broader alliance of democracies.
We should further increase our ability to meet new global challenges. In my speech I have focused on trade liberalization. On energy and climate change. And on international security and the fight against terrorism.
But we need to tackle a broader range of issues: proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, failed states, poverty, pandemics and the spread of dangerous diseases.
We should unite in reaching out to our democratic partners.
A global alliance of democracies would be more powerful than the sum of its participants. We all share basic common interests in promoting freedom, democracy and free trade – values being opposed by dictatorships and terrorists.
By joining forces we can better preserve and bolster our core values.
A strengthened transatlantic partnership should form the nucleus of an alliance of democracies.
In the words of President Kennedy: “Divided there is little we can do. United there is little we cannot do”.
For the sake of future generations, the United States and Europe have a responsibility to seize the moment and join forces for the good.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank you for your attention. And I hope that my words have enabled you to share my vision of a stronger and deeper Transatlantic Partnership.