EU welcomes Schroeder transatlantic call

14th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

14 February 2005, BRUSSELS - The European Commission on Monday said it welcomed comments by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for an upgrade of European Union relations with the United States, saying its own officials in Brussels were engaged in a similar effort. "We see these comments with great interest," Commission spokeswoman for external relations told reporters, adding: "We welcome input from all sides." "We welcome it when people think in terms of the E.U. and not only of bilateral relations" with

14 February 2005

BRUSSELS - The European Commission on Monday said it welcomed comments by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for an upgrade of European Union relations with the United States, saying its own officials in Brussels were engaged in a similar effort.

"We see these comments with great interest," Commission spokeswoman for external relations told reporters, adding: "We welcome input from all sides."

"We welcome it when people think in terms of the E.U. and not only of bilateral relations" with foreign countries, Emma Udwin said.

Schroeder told a meeting of international security experts in Munich over the weekend that he wanted to set up a high-level panel of experts to study ways of strengthening transatlantic relations.

The German leader said NATO was no longer "the primary venue where transatlantic partners discuss and coordinate strategies".

Schroeder's remarks, delivered by German Defence Minister Peter Struck because the Chancellor was ill, caused consternation among U.S. and other NATO loyalists who criticised the German leader for seeking to downgrade NATO.

Struggling to defuse renewed tensions ahead of US President George W. Bush's visit to the EU and NATO on 22 February, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer denied that Berlin was seeking to downgrade NATO.

EU officials said a similar reflection on injecting new momentum in transatlantic ties was underway in Brussels.

Udwin said the bloc's senior officials had been pleased that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was in Brussels last week, had praised the development of a strong and united Europe.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

0 Comments To This Article