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Transatlantic solidarity in tackling new challenges

Speech by Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to commemorate 30 years of the German Marshall Fund of the United States:

»I was very pleased to accept your invitation to address you on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. This all the more so, as we are simultaneously marking another significant date in the history of German-American and Euro-American relations, namely the 55th anniversary of the speech given by US Secretary of State George C. Marshall on 5 June 1947 with which he launched the plan that was to bear his name.

 

George Marshall extended a unique offer of support to the war-torn states of Europe, in­cluding the former foe, Germany.

 

This offer was significantly made on condition that the European states first agree among themselves on the form that reconstruction should take.

 

The Marshall Plan thus provided an important impetus for the European process of unifi­ca­tion, which first took tangible form with the founding of the Organization for European Eco­nomic Cooperation (OEEC), the precursor of the OECD, and the European Coal and Steel Community.

 

The objectives pursued by the United States back then are still just as important today for the German Government and our partners: prosperity and development through cooperation, and the securing of democracy through economic development.

 

We now want further countries to benefit from all that we have achieved in transatlantic re­lations.

 

The principles of transatlantic cooperation are also suited to politically shaping the process of globalization and asserting democracy, human rights, security and justice around the world.

 

At its time, the Marshall Plan represented a fundamental about-turn in the foreign policy of the United States. In contrast to its policy only thirty years previously, the US did not with­draw from Europe after World War II.

 

Instead, it decided to enter into a lasting partnership with the countries of Europe.

 

In view of the Communist threat facing Western Europe, this economic partnership however had to be supplemented with military protection and later with military cooperation within the framework of NATO.

 

The Atlantic Alliance successfully secured peace and stability in Europe. It has for us always been more than a purely military alliance.

 

It represents shared values: human dignity, the rule of law and democracy.

 

In the American Declaration of Independence, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are laid down as inviolable rights for every individual.

 

Our Basic Law is dedicated to the inviolability of human dignity. These are the principles for which we all stand.

 

The process of European unification initiated by George Marshall and the close and amicable cooperation with the United States, both bilaterally and within NATO, are the central ele­ments of Ger­many’s foreign policy.

 

No country benefited from the Marshall Plan as much as West Germany, which thanks to American support experienced unparalleled economic upturn and recreated itself as a demo­cratic country based on the rule of law with lasting political, economic and social stability.

 

Here in Berlin, in particular, we Germans have not forgotten what the Americans have done for us. Our American friends did not merely guarantee and protect the viability of West Ber­lin, but also its freedom.

 

This played no small role in making friends of former foes. Today, the United States is our principal partner outside the European Union.

 

Of course, on some points our views differ, for example as regards the death penalty, climate protection and the establishment of an International Criminal Court.

 

However, our friendship is strong enough to withstand such occasional differences of opinion. It is in my view crucial that we approach such matters constructively and remain in touch about them. I am in complete agreement with President Bush in this respect.

 

Fostering and further enhancing transatlantic relations continues to be one of the key ob­jec­tives of German foreign policy.

 

George Marshall’s farsighted policy laid the foundations for this development. For this, we will always be grateful to him and to the United States of America.

 

Twenty-five years to the day after George Marshall gave his seminal speech, the then German Government decided to mark its gratitude by establishing the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

 

Thirty years ago today on 5 June 1972, Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt at Harvard Uni­ver­sity announced the establishment of this Fund and its initial endowment of 150 million Deutsche Mark.

 

This decision was supported by all Parties represented in the German Bundestag, as were later endowments totalling DM 115 million.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

We cannot commemorate the 30th anniversary of the German Marshall Fund without honouring the work of a man who did so much for the German Marshall Fund, and who is present here today.

 

I am speaking of Guido Goldmann, who as one of the leading figures at Harvard and as a man with an intimate knowledge of German politics was one of the most active and important par­ticipants in the preparation and establishment of the German Marshall Fund.

 

It was he whom Willy Brandt entrusted with managing the Marshall Fund thirty years ago.

 

As the first President of the Fund until 1973, and since as a member and co-chairman of the Board of Trustees, he has played a major part in the success of the German Marshall Fund.

 

On behalf of the Federal Government, I would thus like to thank you, Mr Goldmann, and with you all those who have worked for and with the Marshall Fund and contributed to its success, most warmly.

 

During its thirty years, the German Marshall Fund has done much to promote and advance exchange and dialogue between Americans and Europeans.

 

During this time, it had to respond to the dramatic changes that have altered the face of the world since 1972 and that have of course had a major impact on transatlantic relations.

 

One of the most significant changes for the transatlantic relationship was no doubt the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Iron Curtain across Europe.

 

We Germans will not forget that it was first and foremost the United States that lent us its unreserved support when we were given this opportunity to restore our national unity.

 

On the other hand, the Europeans had to realize that following the end of the East-West con­flict that had bound America and Europe together, the US elite was increasingly interested in other regions, such as Asia.

 

In this new political environment it was more important than ever to bring American and European decision-makers and future leaders together in a creative dialogue, as the German Marshall Fund has done and continues to do in such an exemplary fashion.

 

Meeting face to face and developing a network of contacts is the best way to build trust and mutual understanding.

This is a point that I cannot emphasize too strongly, as it is one confirmed by my own ex­periences in politics.

 

The German Marshall Fund is active in key areas such as the economy, which is of increasing significance in this age of globalization, as well as environmental protection.

 

It is particularly important, I believe, to foster exchange between American and German par­liamentarians, as this must retain a special role within our close and intensive relationship with the United States.

 

I am thus very glad that your commitment to lively parliamentary relations between Germany and America is honoured tonight by the attendance of numerous members of the German Bundestag from all political parties.

 

This is a sign of just how much your work is recognized by the German Bundestag.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

11 September 2001 was a turning-point in transatlantic relations and the work of the German Marshall Fund.

 

The heinous attacks on our American friends and allies brought home to us just how deep the emotional ties between Germany and the United States are.

 

This depth of feeling was shown in the overwhelming outpouring of sympathy by the German people.

 

It was thus only natural for the German Government to lend its full support to our American friends in their hour of need.

 

For we know that it is in particular we Germans, who emerged from the aftermath of two World Wars thanks to the help and solidarity of our American and European friends, who now have to assume a new international responsibility following the restoration of our full sovereignty.

 

A responsibility that is in line with our role as a major European and transatlantic partner and as a strong democracy and economy at the heart of Europe.

 

As a corollary of this we have assumed a military role, participating in operation Enduring Freedom and having the Federal Armed Forces take the lead role in the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul and the command of the multinational naval force around the Horn of Africa.

 

On the whole, the international community has so far achieved a great deal in the fight against terrorism. The American President and I agreed on this on the occasion of his recent visit to Berlin.

 

International responsibility for preserving peace and stability must not however be limited and reduced to the military level. Military measures are an important element, but not the only aspect to be considered.

 

We want to achieve lasting success in the fight against international terrorism by imple­menting a comprehensive strategy that rests on a broad international coalition and includes diplomatic, security, economic and development policy measures.

 

I believe it is of fundamental importance that we deepen the dialogue outside governmental circles with our American friends on the many issues that have arisen in conjunction with 11 September.

 

One of the issues to be thus tackled is how we can eliminate all breeding grounds for ter­rorism around the world and how we can debate the causes of terrorism.

 

The German Marshall Fund has an important role to play here, which I am sure it will fill most capably, as it has always done in the past.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

The transatlantic security partnership under NATO has also been strengthened in the wake of the events of 11 September.

 

In September last year, NATO for the first time in its history invoked the collective defence provisions of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty and lent its assistance to the United States.

 

The threat posed to us all by international terrorism has also caused NATO and Russia to draw closer together.

 

Last week, the NATO Heads of State and Government and President Putin signed the Decla­ration of Rome.

 

As a result, Russia is now involved in the work of the Alliance as an equal partner on a range of important issues, such as the fight against terrorism, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and arms controls.

 

This is a historic step which lends a new quality to relations between NATO and Russia.

 

At the NATO summit in Prague in November, we will resolutely continue to adapt NATO to the new challenges and threats posed by international terrorism and weapons of mass destruc­tion.

 

We will moreover accept new members and thus give further countries the opportunity of contributing to security and stability in Europe from within the Alliance.

 

Who these new members will be, will be decided in Prague. I do not believe a public debate on the individual candidates would be helpful at this time.

 

I am pleased that the German Marshall Fund has taken on a leading role in the dialogue with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

 

With its partnerships and the opening of its office in Bratislava, the Fund will contribute greatly to preparing these states for their desired accession to the European Union and to NATO.

 

I would like to encourage you to further develop this particular area of your work.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

George Marshall laid a foundation stone for the European process of integration.

 

We have since advanced the unification of Europe to a degree that in his day would hardly have been thought possible.

 

Europe really is growing together, indeed beyond the borders of Western Europe. Further key steps stand to be taken in the near future.

 

Firstly, there is the work of the Convention on the Future of Europe, which will adapt the EU’s institutions to the demands of the twenty-first century. And secondly there is the en­largement of the European Union which will continue over the next few years.

 

We also want Europe to have an effective Security and Defence Policy so that it can be a strong partner for the United States in jointly tackling the tasks ahead.

 

The European states have already taken over most responsibilities for securing peace and sta­bility in the Balkans. In Bosnia and Kosovo they provide roughly three quarters of the 48,000 NATO soldiers.

 

Nevertheless US military presence is still indispensable in the Balkans. The partners on both sides of the Atlantic must continue to work together for stability in this region.

 

Following the conclusion of the processes of enlargement and deepening, Europe will be even more united and better able to act than it is today.

 

Even now, the European Union is playing an increasingly active and visible role alongside the United States, the United Nations and Russia as one of the “quartet” of parties actively working for a peaceful solution to the Middle East crisis.

 

It is only logical, and very much to be welcomed, that the German Marshall Fund is devoting more of its energies to the role of the European Union in transatlantic relations. This is illus­trated by the opening of its office in Brussels last year.

 

President Bush set out the consequences of this development in his important speech to the German Bundestag and emphasized that he does not view a strong Europe as a rival but as a partner to the United States.

 

This is for me one of the key passages of his speech, which points the way forward for pro­ductive transatlantic cooperation.

 

The Federal Government will do all it can to further extend transatlantic relations in this man­ner, so that Europe and the United States of America, as close partners with shared re­sponsi­bility, may successfully master the challenges of the twenty-first century.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

55 years ago, George Marshall provided the impetus which proved so incredibly successful for the development of German-American relations and for the development of the European Union.

 

The German Marshall Fund has for the past 30 years been the catalyst that has provided mo­mentum, strengthened bonds and greatly contributed to mutual understanding on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

In view of the tremendous challenges lying ahead of us, it is in my opinion particularly im­portant that the German Marshall Fund further cultivate its central role as a link between Europe and the United States.

 

I therefore hope that as many scholarship recipients and participants in German Marshall Fund events as possible soon come to fill high-level positions in the United States and in Europe so that they can actively help shape transatlantic relations.

 

With this in mind, I wish you, Mr Goldmann, Mr Leland, and all your colleagues, all the best for the future and further success in your work.«

 

Speech by Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to commemorate 30 years of the German Marshall Fund of the United States  “30 years of the German Marshall Fund – Transatlantic solidarity in tackling new challenges” ; Berlin Wednesday, 5 June 2002; Translation of advance text

 

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