Bill Clinton photo

Remarks to the American Diplomatic Community in Brussels

January 09, 1994

The President. Thank you very much. Thank you for coming. Thank you for playing. And thank you for waiting a little as I had the chance to stop downtown and talk to some citizens after I gave my speech.

I want to tell you how very much I appreciate the work that all of you are doing for your country a long way from home, but at the center of the future we have to make together. I think in a way you're all fortunate to be serving in Brussels at such a pivotal point in the history of Europe and the history of the world. This is a remarkable city, the headquarters of the Commission on European Unity and Union and NATO. And I want to thank all of our three Ambassadors behind us for the work that they have done.

The importance of our bilateral relationship with Belgium can hardly be overstated. Alan Blinken, I think, will represent us very well, particularly if all of you at the Embassy do what everybody tries to do at the White House every day and make sure I'm not my own worst enemy. [Laughter] I want to thank Bob Hunter for the work he's doing at NATO and say that this Partnership For Peace, contrary to what some have suggested, is not a weak limitation on the future of European security, it is a strong first step that opens the possibility of the best possible future for Europe in which everyone will have an opportunity to be a democracy and to be part of our shared security. And I want to say a special word of thanks to my longtime friend Stu Eizenstat for coming here to serve. We've worked hard to get this GATT agreement. The European Union is now a reality. We have to see it through; there's still a lot to do.

I stopped at a little coffee shop and restaurant on the way out here tonight, just talked to some citizens, and I met this incredible Belgian lady who said, "You're right, we've got to compete. We can't run away from the world." And she said, "I know how hard it is economically, but 2 years ago I didn't have a job, and now I have my own business and I'm doing very well, and I'm excited about the European Union. I'm going to do business in other countries now." We've got to somehow communicate that spirit, that belief that we can bring this economy back, this whole global economy back to people here so they can believe in themselves. I can tell you that, back home, that is beginning to happen. We do have more control over our economic destiny. The deficit is coming down after going up for 12 years. Jobs are being created, and movement is there in the economy. And there is a sense that we're beginning to confront problems that we have ignored for way, way too long.

So I think we're coming here at a very important time and an appropriate time. And I guess I ought to end by apologizing to those of you who have had to do so much extra work because of this trip and the headaches I may have caused you. But believe me, it is in a worthy cause, and we are going to make a new future for the people of Europe and the people of the world so that we don't repeat the mistakes of the 20th century in the 21st and so that we give all these children a better future than any generation has ever known.

Thank you very much.

[At this point, Antoene Tixhon, Bourgmestre of Dinant, presented the President with a saxophone.]

The President. In case you didn't understand it, Dinant, Belgium, is the home of Adolphe Sax, the man who invented the saxophone. And this says, "Adolphe Sax, 1814 to 1894. To Bill Clinton, President of the United States." And it says something else, but my glasses are not here. [Laughter] "Dinant, Belgium" and——

Bourgmestre Tixhon. "International Year of the Saxophone."

The President. Yes, the international year of Adolphe Sax. And it points out that this wonderful horn was made in Paris by Selmer.

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:03 p.m. at the Conrad Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Alan Blinken, U.S. Ambassador to Belgium; Robert Hunter, U.S. Ambassador to NATO; and Stuart Eizenstat, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

William J. Clinton, Remarks to the American Diplomatic Community in Brussels Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Simple Search of Our Archives