Cablegate: Cdu Nrw Minister President Ruettgers Pleased with Us Visit
RR RUEHAG RUEHLZ
DE RUEHDF #0006/01 0601106
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 011106Z MAR 07
FM AMCONSUL DUSSELDORF
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0062
INFO RUEHDF/AMCONSUL DUSSELDORF 0074
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUSSELDORF 000006
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TAGS: ENRG SENV ECON PGOV GM
SUBJECT: CDU NRW MINISTER PRESIDENT RUETTGERS PLEASED WITH US VISIT
REF: DUESSELDORF 0004
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1. (SBU) Summary: North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)
Minister-President Juergen Ruettgers told the CG his recent
visit was "very successful." His second trip in 12 months, he
signed an agreement on energy and environmental cooperation with
Pennsylvania. He was pleased with his meetings with Senators
Lugar, Coleman, Hagel, with White House Environment Advisor
Connaughton (they met twice) and with the Deputy Secretaries of
Energy, Treasury and Commerce. In NY, he had another long
conversation with Henry Kissinger and visited the NYSE, where he
gained a better understanding of the nuance of equity capital
firms' roles in international markets. Ruettgers delivered a
foreign policy speech in Washington that was significantly
different from a controversial one he delivered in Berlin in
late January, which aides since revised to stress positive
themes of Atlantic partnership. End Summary.
Second U.S. Trip
2. (SBU) Almost exactly a year after his first trip to the U.S.
as Minister-President, Ruettgers paid a second official visit
February 12-17 to Washington, Pittsburgh and New York. He was
joined by Michael Breuer, Minister for Federal and European
Affairs and 35 others, including reps from NRW small and
medium-sized businesses in the energy and environment technology
areas and 11 print and TV journalists. The visit received
extensive media coverage in NRW and Germany-wide, which a
business rep suggested to CG is indicative of the
Focus: Energy and Environment
3. (U) Despite an ice and snow storm in the DC area that
resulted in a nine hour flight delay and the cancellation of
several events, Ruettgers considered his trip "very successful,"
as he told the CG on February 23. He was particularly pleased
to sign a cooperation agreement with Pennsylvania on renewable
energy and environmental protection issues with Governor Ed
Rendell. Representatives of two companies based in NRW and
Pennsylvania signed contracts on the construction of a U.S.
plant to transform "waste coal" into diesel fuel. A senior aide
observed that contracts like this usually "only happen on trips
to China." In addition to visiting the U.S. headquarters of
Bayer Corporation, Ruettgers also visited the Washington offices
of 3M, UPS, and Citigroup (which together employ almost 10,000
people in NRW), thus raising his appreciation for the major role
U.S. business plays in the NRW economy.
4. (U) Ruettgers promoted heavily the themes of NRW as the
"energy capital of Germany," if not Europe, and its energy
efficiency technology and experience. He was very pleased that
White House Environment Advisor Jim Connaughton met with him and
participated in a second event, which he interpreted as evidence
of senior USG interest in closer cooperation. He was also
pleased to have met with the Deputy Secretaries of Treasury,
Energy and Commerce, and with Senators Lugar, Coleman and Hagel
and Congressman Delahunt (D-MA), who reportedly may visit
Germany in April to discuss energy issues, inter alia.
According to an aide, Ruettgers' meeting with Henry Kissinger in
New York went very well, as did his visit to the NYSE, which
increased his knowledge of capital markets and gave him a
greater appreciation also of the positive role private equity
firms and hedge funds can play, both of which have been
controversial in German society.
Revised Foreign Policy Speech
5. (SBU) At a Konrad Adenauer Foundation event on February 13,
Ruettgers delivered a significantly revised version of his
controversial January 29 DGAP (German Council on Foreign
Relations) speech on foreign policy, which removed language that
had caused critical press commentary in the German national
media. A senior aide who accompanied Ruettgers told CG the
January speech had been drafted largely by a friend outside
government, and was not widely cleared in the NRW government.
Senior Ruettgers advisors, led by State Secretary Michael
Mertes, rewrote the text, dropping language on Islamic terrorism
interpreted by some to be ambivalent about its roots, replacing
it with points on energy security (calling for a common European
energy policy and criticizing Russia for using energy as a
political weapon), emphasizing that a strong and united Europe
is in the U.S. interest and should not be a counterforce, and
calling for the need to write a new chapter in the friendship
between Europe and the U.S. in tackling international problems.
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6. (SBU) The Ruettgers trip reflected the personal importance
he places on expanding ties with the U.S. He clearly sees
concrete benefits for NRW business in the energy and climate
area and has instructed his ministers to look for ways to
translate the progress of the last 12 months into more results.
The visit laid further groundwork for more visits this year
focusing on energy and education, including by Science Minister
Andreas Pinkwart and Parliamentary Speaker Regina van Dinther.
Ruettgers also recognizes that better knowledge of the U.S. is
necessary if he wants to pursue politics at the national level.
His utterances on foreign policy and relations with the U.S., as
reflected in his revised speech, were more positive than those
in January, suggesting that he has also gained more appreciation
for nuance in the US-Europe dialogue.
7. (U) This message was coordinated with Embassy Berlin.