|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at the Dedication of the New U.S.-EU Chancery
Brussels, Belgium, March 10, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Ambassador Morningstar, thank you very much. And thank you all for coming. I am especially pleased to see so many friends from Europe, including my very good friend High Representative Solana; Mr. Byrne, and Mr. Barnier from the Commission; Ambassador Valente; Senator and former Prime Minister Dehaene; representatives from our host city, and our plethora of ambassadors.
I am also delighted to see leaders from America's diplomatic team in Brussels, including Ambassador Cejas and Ambassador Vershbow, as well as our host, Ambassador Morningstar, who has done a terrific job here.
Today, at long last, I have the honor to join with you in officially opening the chancery of the United States Mission to the European Union. As many of you know, we had planned to do this in December, but the peace talks at Shepherdstown prevented me from coming. So I thank you for your patience. But from what I see, it was very worthwhile.
I have heard a lot about this facility and now that I have seen it, I am not disappointed. It is artfully designed and constructed. It draws almost equally from the old Europe and the new. It has its formal areas, but was built without neglecting day to day work needs. And aesthetically well, let's just say it's more than a match for the State Department building in Washington, D.C.
So on behalf of the entire Department, I want to express my appreciation to all those, present and not present, who helped bring this fine project to completion. I thank our neighbors for putting up with the construction. And I am very grateful to officials from the city of Brussels for all the assistance they provided.
Obviously, this was a big job. But there was a big purpose behind the effort. Because the relationship between the United States and the EU is one of the world's most important.
It seems that almost everywhere I go, Commissioner Patten or High Representative Solana has either just left, is just about to arrive, or is sitting in the next chair.
Pick an important issue: Kosovo, Bosnia, Chechnya, the Middle East, proliferation, trade, humanitarian response, you name it, and there are people in this building working on it in partnership with the EU. And because of your dedication and skill, in almost every case, the U.S. and EU are leading or helping to show the world the way.
Some suggest that it might be a good idea to loosen the ties between the U.S. and Europe. For Europe to go its way, while we Americans go ours. This suggestion, to use a diplomatic term of art--is balderdash.
Trans-Atlantic ties rescued the world from Fascism. They saved most of the world from totalitarianism. If we are wise, they will lead the world towards a more peaceful, prosperous and just future.
Of course, there are sometimes differences between Europe and America. We shouldn't be surprised or disappointed about that. As I say to my European friends, we can't BOTH be right all the time.
We are, after all, cousins, not clones. But we have been standing together on the big issues for more than half a century, and we wouldn't be dedicating this new chancery unless we expected to continue doing so for a long time.
To those of you who work in this mission, I hope you are proud of what you accomplish every single day you come to work. Because if you were to put a slogan above this chancery's door, the appropriate motto might be: "History is being written here."
Before closing, I want to add that it's budget season again on Capitol Hill. And I have no higher priority than to see that the State Department has the resources we need to conduct an effective foreign policy. That requires adequate and secure posts -- this building is a great example, good training, enough people, and program budgets that will allow us to shape events, not merely respond to them. I say when I testify that it is wonderful to have secure buildings, but you must also have people in them carrying out programs. So you cannot rob Peter to pay Paul.
The frustrating thing is that every time we seem to be making headway, someone proposes a cut of ten or twenty percent in our budget. We've been hearing about the possibility of another such proposal now. But I say that taking a meataxe approach to our foreign policy resources is dangerous. It's destructive. It's dumb. And we're not going to let them get away with it.
We'll fight and we'll fight and I am confident that at the end of the day we'll have the bipartisan support that is necessary.
In closing, let me just say again how pleased I am that I could be with you at this celebration. If you think about the last century, you will realize both how extraordinary our partnership is, and how absolutely vital it is that it continue. I congratulate all of you, including those from the private sector, who have helped to strengthen the Trans-Atlantic link.
I thank you and urge you to keep it up. I will be back often because there is much to do.
And now, with great pleasure and pride, I hereby declare this Chancery of the Mission of the United States of America to the European Union officially open. May it flourish and thrive for many years to come. Thank you all very much.
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