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Remarks Following Discussions With Charles Haughey, Prime Minister of Ireland and President of the European Council

February 27, 1990

The President. Well, it's been a great pleasure to meet today with Prime Minister Haughey. The last time we met was almost a year ago, as we celebrated St. Patrick's Day here at the White House and renewed the shared values and kinship that have bound our two nations together for over 200 years. Nine signers of the Declaration of Independence proudly claimed Ireland as their ancestral home. And so, it's an honor to welcome the Taoiseach to America's home -- designed by an Irishman, I might add.

And today the Prime Minister is visiting Washington, though, in another capacity: as the President of the European Council. And with the rapid change we're witnessing across Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, the relationship between the United States and the European Community has never been more important.

The Revolution of '89 brought with it new opportunities and challenges, and it is critical that we work to make the strong bonds between this nation and its European friends even stronger. The Prime Minister and I had a productive discussion of the many issues of great interest to the United States, to the EC, to Ireland, including the prospect of German unification, regional issues around the world; and we touched on Northern Ireland as well.

I was especially interested in the Prime Minister's views on the new architecture of Europe. He and I agree on the principles that should guide the design of the new Europe. First, we both welcome the prospect of overcoming the artificial division of the continent and building a Europe whole and free, united by universal values that are based on freedom and democracy. And second, there is no question that Western solidarity protects stability in this time of change and that transatlantic cooperation now is more important than ever. As I've said before, the United States will remain a European power. Third, we both look to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the CSCE, to play a greater role in Europe's future, including guidance for the conduct of truly free elections and the transition from planned economies to pluralistic systems. Fourth, we believe the EC must play a vital role in the new Europe.

A more united Europe, able to take its rightful place in world affairs, is good for the United States of America. And we'll look for ways to improve our ties to the Community so a new Atlanticism will be teamed with a new Europe.

And today's meeting takes us forward in building new structures for the U.S. relationship with the Community. We committed ourselves to regular meetings between myself and the President of the EC to provide overall political guidance for the relationship. We agreed to twice yearly meetings between the EC Foreign Ministers and our Secretary of State. And we committed ourselves to joint efforts in the war against drugs and our hopes to preserve the global environment.

We do not expect perfect agreement between the United States and the EC on every issue, but we do agree that our inherent belief in the value of freedom, democracy, opportunity binds us together and that our mutual cooperation can benefit all. And we also agree that the historic ties of friendship between our two countries, the United States and Ireland, can serve the cause of peace in the international arena.

We're grateful for Ireland's efforts to encourage and enhance U.S.-EC cooperation. And we also appreciate Ireland's efforts to promote economic development, security, reconciliation, and peace in Northern Ireland. In a time when all things seem possible, all Americans hope for an end to the conflict that has brought such sadness to your beautiful land and your wonderful people.

Mr. Prime Minister, we wish you Godspeed on your journey home. The days ahead are exciting ones, full of expectations, and together, they can be days of great cooperation and great progress for all people. Thank you, sir, for your leadership. Thank you for your friendship. And God bless the United States and Ireland. Thank you, sir.

The Prime Minister. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, my visit to Washington takes place at a time of profound international change. The President and I, in my capacity as President of the European Council, discussed U.S.-European Community relations and their future evolution in the context of the Community's increasingly important role on the international, political, and economic scene.

The President and I agreed, at this time, to strengthen the links between the European Community and the United States. We agreed for that purpose, as the President has said, that a meeting between the U.S. President and each President in office of the European Council should become a regular feature of the U.S.-European Community relations, and that one such meeting should be held each Presidency of the European Council. And I'll be recommending that to my European colleagues, the heads of state or government of the European Community, immediately on my return. We also agreed that the Foreign Ministers of the Community will meet the U.S. Secretary of State on two occasions a year, at least. In addition, the European Commission is taking steps to increase the frequency of its formal meetings with the U.S. Cabinet. This arrangement will give us both a better overall structure and direction to the wide variety of existing contacts and discussions, and they will also provide a new framework for enhanced political and economic ties between the Community and the United States. We are, in fact, building a broader bridge across the Atlantic.

We also, the President and I, discussed areas for specific cooperation; and we agreed that the fight against international drug trafficking and the international movement of drug funds are areas very appropriate for specific cooperation. We shared common concerns on the need for continuing efforts to protect the environment in areas such as global climate change, the depletion of the ozone layer, and endangered species. And may I say that I think it's entirely appropriate that I, who have set myself the aim of being of a green Presidency of the European Community, should be having these discussions at this stage with President Bush, who has set for himself the role of environmental President in the United States.

During our meeting, we also reviewed developments in Central and Eastern Europe; in particular, implications of German unification. The President and I agreed that the United States and the Community have a pivotal role to play in overcoming the divisions between East and West and in laying the foundations for a Europe united in its commitment to peace, prosperity, democracy, and above all a respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The President and I also discussed a number of bilateral issues, including immigration, super royalties, passive foreign investment companies, and of course the situation in Northern Ireland. And I greatly appreciate the President's deep personal concern for the situation in Northern Ireland and his constant wish to be of any possible assistance he can in bringing forward a solution to that intractable and difficult and tragic problem. I expressed my appreciation for constructive U.S. interest and support for Anglo-Irish relations.

Mr. President, it has been for me a great pleasure to have had the benefit of talking to you and receiving the benefit of your views and your insights into European and, indeed, international affairs at this very exciting time for all humanity. Thank you very much, indeed.

The President. Well, thank you, sir. Well spoken, and thank you very much. It's a great pleasure to have you here. Holler if we can do any more.

Note: The President spoke at 1:24 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House. Prior to their remarks, the President and the Prime Minister met privately in the Oval Office and with U.S. and Irish officials in the Cabinet Room, and then attended a luncheon in the Old Family Dining Room.

George Bush, Remarks Following Discussions With Charles Haughey, Prime Minister of Ireland and President of the European Council Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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