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Press Release
Jean-Claude Juncker at the EU-US summit: "The United States is not only a strategic partner of the European Union, but also its most important partner"

Date of release : 20-06-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Event : EU-US Summit

On 20 June 2005, a summit between the European Union and the United States of America brought together the Prime Minister and current President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, Commission President José Manuel Barroso, and US President George W. Bush in Washington D.C..

Jean-Claude Juncker was accompanied by the President of the Council of the European Union and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn. The European delegation also comprised the High Representative for the CFSP, Javier Solana, the Vice-President of the Commission, Günter Verheugen, the External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, as well as the Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson.

The summit gave the European and American leaders the opportunity to touch on a vast array of international topics, namely the situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan, relations with China, Iran, Iraq, Ukraine, Georgia, and the Balkans, the fight against terrorism, the Darfur crisis, as well as a number of bilateral subjects such as the visa scheme and economic and commercial relations between the EU and the USA.

During a press briefing at the White House, Jean-Claude Juncker described the discussions between the European delegation and President Bush as "frank, open and amicable."

According to the Luxembourg Prime Minister, the European delegation took advantage of the summit to "explain in detail the meaning of the French and Dutch rejection of the Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe. We also informed President Bush on the negotiations on the Community budget for the 2007-2013 period."

Despite "recent events and developments in Europe," Jean-Claude Juncker explained that the EU is not buckling at the knees, but remains firmly committed to its relationship with the USA.  He continued: "The United States is not only a strategic partner of the European Union, but also its most important partner."

In response to a question on the work of the Luxembourg Presidency, President Bush congratulated Luxembourg for its perseverance in the improvement of transatlantic relations. "Prime Minister [Juncker] is an interesting guy. He's a lot of fun to be around. He promotes serious business in a way that endears himself to people.  An so I think his presidency has been an important presidency for the EU during difficult times, and he's handled it well," said President Bush, before adding jokingly: “ I was going to say he's a piece of work, but that might not translate too well.�?

Minister Asselborn in turn informed President Bush on the European troika’s visit to Baghdad on 9 June, and on the preparations under way for the international conference on Iraq, co-organised by the EU and the USA in Brussels on 22 June 2005. In his statement, Jean Asselborn highlighted that the conference should serve as an occasion for the Iraqis to "present their vision and priorities in the fields of politics, economics and the rule of law for the transitional period leading up to the next elections towards the end of the year, in the framework of the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1546."

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the San Franciso Charter, the European and American leaders reiterated their commitment to the "noble principles and values" embodied in the United Nations Charter and called on the nations of the world "to define a new international consensus on the ways and means to manage together the burning questions of our time", in particular at the United Nations summit in September 2005.

In a joint statement on the Middle East, the EU and the USA demanded – together with the partners of the region – to make use of the current opportunities to create a climate of confidence and cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians so as to reach a lasting peace in the region. Underlining the "importance of a complete and peaceful Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of the northern West Bank in a manner consistent with the road map," the EU and US leaders urged the parties "to respect their commitments and to refrain from unilateral actions that could prejudge final status issues."

The EU and the USA furthermore agreed to work together "to promote peace, stability, prosperity and good governance" on the African continent, and to strengthen transatlantic cooperation in the area of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the fight against terrorism.

On the economic front, the EU and USA have announced a package of initiatives aimed at transatlantic economic integration and growth. Finally, the parties decided to continue to strengthen their cooperation in the energy sector and in the fight against global piracy and counterfeiting.

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This page was last modified on : 22-06-2005

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