Presidential Radio Address - 19 February 2005
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Tomorrow I leave on a trip to Europe, where I will reaffirm the importance of our transatlantic relationship with our European friends and allies.
Over the last several weeks the world has witnessed momentous events -- Palestinians voting for an end to violence; Ukrainians standing up for their democratic rights; Iraqis going to the polls in free elections. And in Europe, I will talk with leaders at NATO and the European Union about how we can work together to take advantage of the historic opportunities now before us.
Leaders on both sides of the Atlantic understand that the hopes for peace in the world depend on the continued unity of free nations. We do not accept a false caricature that divides the Western world between an idealistic United States and a cynical Europe. America and Europe are the pillars of the free world. We share the same belief in freedom and the rights of every individual, and we are working together across the globe to advance our common interest and common values.
In Iraq, our shared commitment to free elections has stripped the car bombers and assassins of their most powerful weapon, their claim to represent the wishes and aspirations of the Iraqi people. In these elections, the European Union provided vital technical assistance. NATO is helping to train army officers, police and civilian administrators of a new Iraq. And 21 of our European coalition partners are providing forces on the ground. America and Europe are also working together to advance the cause of peace in the Holy Land, where we share the same goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and freedom.
In my inaugural address I said that the liberty we espouse is a universal aspiration. Many Americans trace their roots back to Europe, and we can trace many of our founding ideals there, as well. It was a Frenchman who taught the framers of our Constitution the importance of the separation of powers. It was a Scot who explained the virtues of a free market. It was an Englishman who challenged us to correct the principal defect of our founding, the plague of slavery. And it was an Italian who gave us our name: America.
America's strong ties to Europe are reflected in the largest two-way trading and investment relationship in the world. Today more than a fifth of all U.S. exports go to the European Union, and millions of Americans depend for their paychecks on the local affiliates of European parent companies.
I will work with our European partners to open markets and expand opportunities for our businesses, our workers and farmers, and to advance the Doha Round of trade talks. I will make clear that one of my top priorities is to reduce the remaining European barriers to U.S. agricultural goods.
Even the best of friends do not agree on everything. But at the dawn of the 21st century, the deepest values and interests of America and Europe are the same: defeating terrorism, conquering poverty, expanding trade and promoting peace. On both sides of the Atlantic, terrorist attacks on our cities and civilians have shown that freedom has dangerous enemies, and that the key to a lasting peace is the advance of human liberty.
Today, security and justice and prosperity for our world depend on America and Europe working in common purpose. That makes our transatlantic ties as vital as they have ever been. And during my visit to Europe next week I will discuss with our friends and allies how we can strengthen those ties to build a future of peace and freedom for our children.
Thank you for listening.