The White House
Office of the Press Secretary (The Hague, Netherlands)
United States and European Union Announce Steps to Address Common Problems
As a part of a broader effort to build a new Atlantic Community and a new Transatlantic Marketplace, the United States and European Union have sought to strengthen its partnership to improve their security and prosperity for the 21st century. Today, the United States and European Union announced several initiatives to strengthen their cooperation and partnership on several major fronts. Today's agreements include:
EU Accession to KEDO: The European Union has reached agreement to join the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization to counter the threat of nuclear proliferation and assist North Korea in meeting its legitimate energy requirements. The EU will provide 15 million ECU ($20 million) for five years, joining the US, Japan and South Korea in responding to the new global security threats of terrorism and nuclear proliferation. The EU's accession to KEDO represents a significant broadening of the coalition of nations concerned with the threat of proliferation in Asia and sends a strong message to North Korea of international solidarity in demanding adherence to the Agreed Nuclear Framework.
Cooperation on Fighting Drugs: Under the New Transatlantic Agenda, the United States and European Union have agreed to their first formal anti-drug initiative. The agreement will help prevent the diversion of chemicals to narco-traffickers engaged in the production of illicit drugs. The agreement will facilitate the exchange of information on transactions in regulated chemicals in order to identify suspicious shipments that may be intended for the production of illicit drugs. For some chemicals, shipments will not be permitted without specific authorization from importing country officials. The agreement also provides for an exchange of information on suspicious shipments to third countries and will contribute to the further development of a worldwide consensus on the need for strengthening anti-drug cooperation. This initiative is part of a broader effort to strengthen our ongoing bilateral drug cooperation with European nations and to further President Clinton's anti-drug strategy.
Customs Agreement: The United States and EU also agreed today on the Customs Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement (CMAA) intended to improve transatlantic efforts to combat customs fraud and facilitate legal trading opportunities. The CMAA provides a framework for the goal of establishing mutual assistance programs, simplifying customs procedures and allowing for the exchange of intelligence and other information related to customs enforcement. The CMAA also established the first Joint Customs Coopera tion Committee consisting of representatives from customs authorities of both parties to oversee implementation and future cooperation. This is the first customs arrangement negotiated between the United States and an economic union and will lead to an agenda built around exchange of US and EC customs officials, coordination of key customs issues in advance of international meetings and linking up technical assistance programs to customs authorities in third countries.
People-to-People Links: The leaders also announced "The US-EU Democracy and Civil Society Awards Program" that will award $1 million over the next two years to communities and individuals for the specific purpose of furthering the recipient's efforts in promoting democracy and civil society. These awards will be chosen by a panel of Americans and Europeans based on outstanding achievements in such areas as democracy, human rights, and civil society. The summit also sought to highlight model programs and develop new initiatives to strengthen the cultural, educational and professional links between American and European societies. The US and EU sponsored 400 American and European leaders from business, labor, foundations, community groups, academia, and government to discuss practical, action-oriented proposals that could serve as an agenda to strengthen ties. Examples of new initiatives recommended by the working group include: a multilingual electronic forum on the Internet to connect institutions and initiatives related to US-EU affairs; an education exchange program with the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe; a conference on workforce development to focus on the impact of integration of the US and EU economies.