Germany: Europe & the US need to work together
Europe and the United States need to work together
The heads of state and government of the NATO countries met
in Brussels on February 22. In a statement made after the
summit, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said Germany's
fifty-year membership in the NATO alliance is and will
remain a fundamental element of national policy. At the same
time he reaffirmed the proposals he recently made for
"The transatlantic relationship is of outstanding importance for Germany," Schröder said. He noted that NATO continues to be a key forum for the discussion of international security issues, but that the alliance needs to adjust to changing situations, as it has in the past.
Strengthening of transatlantic dialogue
With this objective in mind, Schröder called for more intensive cooperation between NATO and the European Union. He renewed his proposal to appoint a panel of distinguished experts for the purpose of further developing and strengthening the alliance. There is a large measure of agreement on the need to strengthen political dialogue within the alliance, Schröder said after the North Atlantic Council meeting.
In the course of the special summit the NATO heads of state and government, including President George W. Bush, discussed international security issues, focusing strongly on the situation in Iraq as well as the involvement of the alliance in Afghanistan and the Balkans.
New impetus for partnership with Ukraine
Prior to that the leaders of the twenty-six NATO countries had met at NATO headquarters with the new elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko. The NATO-Ukraine Commission praised the peaceful revolution that took place in Kiev last December in the wake of irregularities in the presidential election.
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer praised the commitment of the Ukrainian people to democracy, freedom, and the rule of law - values for the defense of which NATO was founded. NATO has established a partnership with Ukraine in the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Ukraine is now seeking integration into European and transatlantic structures over the long term.
The North Atlantic Council session was followed by a top-level meeting between the European Union and the United States. Chancellor Schröder held bilateral talks with a number of government leaders on the sidelines of both summits.
President Bush in Germany
President Bush will be in Germany on February 23 for a bilateral meeting with Chancellor Schröder in Mainz.
Bush is also slated to pay a visit to US forces stationed there before flying on to Bratislava for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.