View Header

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release December 18, 2000
                   HIGHLIGHTS OF U.S.-EU COOPERATION
                   UNDER THE NEW TRANSATLANTIC AGENDA
                     Washington, December 18, 2000

The United States and the European Union have worked during the six months of the French Presidency to realize the goals of the New Transatlantic Agenda: promoting peace, democracy and development throughout the world; expanding world trade; responding to global challenges; and building bridges across the Atlantic.

Foremost was our close and successful cooperation in supporting the advance of peace and democracy in South East Europe, described in our separate statement.

Concerned at the lack of progress in the Middle East Peace Process and the ongoing violence, we have urged both sides to comply fully and without delay with the commitments undertaken at the Sharm-el-Sheikh Summit and to relaunch negotiations. To this end, we will continue to support the Fact-Finding Committee.

We have supported Russian reforms to strengthen democracy, the rule of law and market economy. We have called for a political solution in Chechnya, the return of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and accountability for reports of humanitarian abuses.

The United States welcomes the results of the Nice European Council, which marked a very important step in the development of European security and defense policy. In particular, the commitments made by the EU member states concerning military capabilities will, as they are implemented, strengthen both the EU and the European pillar of the Atlantic alliance. The U.S. also welcomes the proposed arrangements for consultation and cooperation with NATO adopted at Nice, which received a positive response at last week's North Atlantic Council. The U.S. and the EU commit themselves to work together and with all Alliance members to implement and complete these arrangements and thereby forge a strategic partnership between the two organizations in the management of crisis. In this regard, the U.S. notes with appreciation the arrangements offered by the EU for its relationship with NATO European allies. The U.S. looks forward to working with a European Union playing its full role and assuming its full responsibilities on the international scene.

We have issued a joint statement on the responsibilities of States and on transparency regarding arms exports.

In Ukraine, we provided approximately $ 900 million or 1 billion euros to help close the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. The power plant ceased operations on December 15.

We have continued, as agreed at our last summit in Queluz, to address the full range of issues of concern in biotechnology. We have intensified our cooperation on regulatory and other issues, including making progress on means to facilitate trade flows for conventional and biotech (genetically-modified) crop varieties approved in both the U.S. and the EU. We also invited twenty eminent, independent experts from a broad cross-section of our societies to work together in the U.S.-EU Biotechnology Consultative Forum to examine the wide range of issues related to food and agricultural biotechnology. We welcome the report that the Forum has just submitted and will give it careful consideration. We thank the members for their hard work.

As agreed at our last summit, we have worked together in many African countries to improve and accelerate the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, described in our separate statement.

The U.S. and EU enjoy the largest bilateral trade and investment relationship in the world. While disputes concern a small proportion of U.S.-EU trade, their resolution has been a high priority for us. In this light, we continued our discussions on the various disputes currently before us, either in the context of formal WTO dispute settlement proceedings or through other channels.

We have worked to reduce barriers to trade while maintaining high standards for public health and safety, and the environment. Under the Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP), we adopted a plan for cooperation in the area of metrology to facilitate trade and made progress on establishing guidelines and principles for regulatory cooperation and transparency. We have made substantial progress on an agreed text for a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) on marine equipment, which we aim to finalize in early 2001. Under the U.S.-EU MRA, we implemented the sectoral annexes on recreational craft, telecommunications equipment and electromagnetic compatibility, and pursued implementation of the medical devices annex. We discussed the MRAs in the electrical-safety and pharmaceutical sectors with a view toward their full and timely implementation.

We agreed to intensify contacts and cooperation on energy-related issues by re-establishing regular U.S.-EU consultations.

Following the Queluz Summit, we have worked extensively through expert- and political-level meetings to expand transatlantic cooperation in the information society. We have agreed on a joint statement on building consumer confidence in e-commerce and the role of alternative dispute resolution. We are jointly working on high-speed scientific research networking. We have also identified a number of other key areas in which to focus our future efforts such as: enhancing electronic government, combating high-tech crime, measuring the digital economy, researching the societal benefits of information technology and reducing the digital divide.

To minimize the impact of maritime disasters, we have begun sharing information about vessel safety through the European EQUASIS system, a database that contains lists of all ships, records of inspections and safety violations. We have joined in support of a proposal in the International Maritime Organization to phase out all single-hulled tankers in favor of double-hulled tankers.

We agreed to a common approach to the final negotiations of a global UN Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which contributed to their successful conclusion in Johannesburg on December 10.

We renewed the U.S.-EU Higher Education and Training Agreement that established a framework for educational exchanges and joint projects and agreed to promote joint research on on-line education.

We strengthened our science and technology cooperation in the areas of climate change research, including the ARGO project (a system to monitor changes to the temperature in the world's oceans), nanotechnology, biotechnology, e-learning and the mitigation of natural and man-made disasters through disaster information networking. We agreed to intensify scientific cooperation in non-nuclear energy and to explore research proposals on prions. We also upgraded our respective science and technology websites to offer more complete information on possibilities for cooperation and exchanges.

Together we contributed to the successful negotiations on the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its related Protocols.

As we look forward to the Swedish Presidency of the EU, we will continue to pursue this broad agenda. Specific priorities will include the resolution of outstanding trade disputes, and stability and economic renewal in Southeast Europe. We will help Russia implement its non-proliferation and disarmament commitments, in particular the destruction of its chemical weapons and the disposition and management of its excess weapons plutonium. We will strive for an early conclusion of the Agreement on the Multilateral Nuclear Environmental Program in the Russian Federation (MNEPR). We will continue to look for other ways to further enhance our cooperation on non-proliferation and counterterrorism, including implementation of UN sanctions on the Taliban and relevant UN Conventions. We will also focus on development, environment protection and health in the northern regions, in line with the EU's Northern Dimension, and the U.S. Northern Europe Initiative. We will also jointly work for stability and economic reconstruction in Moldova and Southern Caucasus. We will continue to support the efforts towards further normalizing the relations between North and South Korea. We will also intensify our dialogue on the peace process in Colombia.

We will continue to work together to support the efforts of the UN Secretary General to achieve a comprehensive settlement on Cyprus consistent with relevant UNSC Resolutions.

We remain committed to the various understandings and agreements reached at the May 18, 1998 London Summit and, conscious of their importance, will continue to attach a high priority to the effective and prompt implementation of all their aspects.

Global climate change is one of the biggest environmental challenges. We will continue to take steps to bring the Kyoto Protocol into force as soon as possible, including working to reach an agreement at the resumed session of COP VI in May/June 2001 in Bonn.

We will continue to work together in the fight against money laundering to bring an end to harmful practices identified by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). We will also reinforce international standards in this fight and involve new professions, e.g. lawyers, accountants and other professionals.

We will cooperate on Justice and Home Affairs issues, including the fight against illegal synthetic narcotics and other illicit drugs, trafficking in human beings and high-tech crime. We will continue our cooperation to combat child pornography on the Internet. Another priority is to continue the on-going dialogue on asylum and migration issues with a view to reporting to the U.S.-EU Summit in June 2001. To ensure continuity on Justice and Home Affairs issues of common interest, we will work towards a multi-annual approach within existing structures.

We will continue to work together to build consensus for the launch of a new trade round in the WTO at the earliest opportunity. A new Round should address the interest of all WTO members, in particular the poorer countries, and should strengthen and develop the rules-based system of the WTO. We agree that securing the launch of an inclusive and balanced Round during 2001 is of the highest priority. We will continue to work to this end and to seek to narrow differences that remain between us on the agenda of the Round.

# # #