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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Press Release
Luc Frieden: "The transatlantic relationship is unique and irreplaceable"

Date of release : 01-02-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

On Monday, 31 January 2005, the Luxembourg Minister for Defense, Luc Frieden, was received in Washington by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as part of his visit to the United States.

Held at the beginning of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and at the start of the second term of office of the Bush administration, the meeting demonstrates the Presidency’s will to strengthen and consolidate transatlantic ties.

Relations between the European Union and NATO were particularly discussed between the two ministers. On this point, Luc Frieden chose to underline that the development of the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) will contribute to a reinforcement of NATO. Strengthening European capacities, which is the main objective, helps increase the capacities of the Atlantic Alliance overall. He stated: "The European Union and the United States must work hand in hand to further improve cooperation between the EU and NATO".

The two ministers also touched on the situation in Iraq following the elections of 30 January 2005. For Luc Frieden, these elections are "a positive sign that marks the beginning of a new step towards democracy." The European Union and the United States must work together to support Iraq in its transition towards a stable and democratic State. Luc Frieden and Donald Rumsfeld focused particularly on the need to assist in the training of the security forces. In this context they highlighted the importance of the efforts NATO should be making to this end.

The situation in Afghanistan, where Europeans and Americans are cooperating on the ground, combating terrorism and drugs trafficking, was also discussed.

Concerning the Balkans, where several military operations are ongoing, Luc Frieden expressed his satisfaction with the good conditions under which the EU’s Althea operation (Eurofor) had taken over from NATO in Bosnia.

On the question of international terrorism, the two ministers confirmed the need for concerted action between European and US policies.

For Luc Frieden, this meeting with the US Defense Secretary has illustrated the importance of the transatlantic relationship, which the minister described as "unique and irreplaceable."

This page was last modified on : 01-02-2005

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